Fri., Aug. 10 – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke spoke Tuesday at a bipartisan event at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington on the need to repair and rebuild our national parks, reports RV News.
The focus of the event was on fixing and preserving national park infrastructure and the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog currently facing our nation’s 417 national parks.
“The immense infrastructure needs and maintenance backlog is one of the key issues facing our nation’s parks,” Zinke said. “Since my confirmation hearing, I’ve been adamant that we must address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks. This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue—it’s an American issue. Addressing the infrastructure needs of our national parks is an investment in their future and in ensuring they live up to their world-class reputation for generations to come. As we continue to focus on increasing access to our public lands, we must address this great need because they go hand-in-hand. Yesterday’s discussion was another important step in this fight.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 budget includes a legislative proposal to establish the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. The Fund will provide up to $18 billion to address the Interior’s maintenance backlog in national parks, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Indian Education schools through funding from energy leasing revenues.
Funding for the national parks would be used to rebuild basic infrastructure like roads, trails, lodges, restrooms and visitors centers.