Advocacy

ISSUE BRIEF: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE LEGACY ACT OF 2017

THE ISSUE

ASLA supports legislation that addresses the deferred maintenance backlog of national parks and other public lands across the country.

Background & Analysis

On March 28, 2017, Senators Mark Warner (VA), Rob Portman (OH) and Tim Kaine (VA) introduced S. 751, the National Park Service (NPS) Legacy Act of 2017 in the U.S. Senate. This bipartisan legislation aims to reduce the maintenance backlog at the NPS by establishing a dedicated backlog fund, which will be housed at the Department of Treasury and will receive financing from mineral royalties not otherwise dedicated to other purposes. Under this legislation, $11.3 billion of the approximately $12 billion maintenance backlog would be eliminated by the year 2047. Representatives Will Hurd (TX), Derek Kilmer (WA), Dave Reichert (WA), and Collen Hanbusa (HI) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 2584) in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 22, 2017.

In recent years, the NPS’s deferred maintenance backlog has grown to $12 billion. Overdue projects are comprised of aging visitor centers, water infrastructure, historic buildings, docks and more. Many of NPS’s overdue repair projects are transportation-related: roads, bridges, tunnels, trails and parking lots. This problem is an enormous challenge for park superintendents who struggle with insufficient resources to provide for visitor safety and care for these special places, while accommodating growing numbers of visitors.

Under the National Park Service Legacy Act, eighty percent of the revenues generated will be dedicated for the repair and rehabilitation of key assets, including historic structure, visitor facilities, water utility systems, disability access, health and safety and recreation projects. The bill also allocates twenty percent of funds to roads, bridges, and other transportation-related projects. Revenues from the measure will not be used for land acquisition or used in lieu of funding made available for recurring facility operations and maintenance needs of the NPS. The legislation will also include a philanthropic component to prioritize projects that can leverage a partner match. By providing reliable and consistent funding, the NPS Legacy Act would make enormous strides to restore national park infrastructure, protect our natural and historic landmarks, and ensure that local communities continue to benefit from park visitor spending.


History

On December 10, 2016, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 4680, the National Park Service Centennial Act (P.L. 114-289). The bill established the NPS Centennial Challenge Fund, which provides funding and other critical resources to help protect and preserve our national parks into the future, including tackling the $12 billion maintenance backlog. The National Park Service Legacy Act would build upon the success of the Centennial Act to ensure that the park service has the resources it needs to preserve America’s natural, cultural, and historical treasures for future generations.

Current Status

On March 28, 2017, S. 751, the National Park Service Legacy Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, where it is awaiting further action.

On May 22, 2017, Representatives Will Hurd (TX), Derek Kilmer (WA), Dave Reichert (WA), and Collen Hanbusa (HI) introduced H.R. 2584, the National Park Service Legacy Act, a companion bill, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where it is awaiting further action.


Co-sponsor(s)

S. 751, Senators Mark Warner (VA), and co-sponsors
H.R. 2584, Representatives Will Hurd (TX), and co-sponsors


Resources

National Parks
Public Lands
Preservation of Historic Sites, Districts, and Landscapes
Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat
Memorials

Contact

ASLA Government Affairs
governmentaffairs
@asla.org
 

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