June 16, 2020
Dear Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,
We, the members of the National Parks Second Century Action Coalition, write in support of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act), especially the increased funding levels for federal lands to help address the aging transportation assets in our national parks.
The 100+ year-old National Park Service (NPS) is challenged by aging infrastructure, visitation pressures, and decades of inconsistent funding for maintenance needs. As a result, the agency cannot keep pace with repairs at its more than 400 park units across the country, which has led to a maintenance backlog estimated at $11.9 billion. Transportation assets within the National Park System—paved roads, parking lots, tunnels, and bridges—account for over half of the total backlog, or $6.15 billion.
We support funding increases in the INVEST in America Act to the National Park Service through the Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) and Federal Lands and Major Tribal Projects Program (FLMTPP). The FLTP provides funds to improve roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure in parks. The FLMTPP provides funding for exceptionally large repair projects in our parks, such as the reconstruction of the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone or the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia. The proposed mandatory funding under this program is a welcome addition to the surface transportation bill and will help park managers better plan for these megaprojects.
Our national parks and public lands generate billions of dollars for local economies in tourism dollars, jobs and tax revenue. Repairing and maintaining them is a smart investment, and will create additional infrastructure-related jobs, as well as preserve visitor access and resources.
Thank you for considering our views,
The 1882 Foundation
American Hiking Society
American Society for Landscape Architects
Big Bend Conservancy
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Evangelical Environmental Network
Friends of Acadia
Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Park
Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
International Inbound Travel Association
Mount Rushmore Society
National Park Hospitality Association
National Park Partners
National Parks Conservation Association
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Public Lands Alliance
Rocky Mountain Conservancy
Southeast Tourism Society
St. Croix River Association
i The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition is made up of organizations supporting conservation, recreation, outdoor industry, travel and tourism and historic preservation that are dedicated to promoting the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of the National Park System for the long-term benefit it offers our nation.