As an avid user of our national parks, I am encouraged by a bipartisan proposal in Congress to address crumbling infrastructure within these special places. Right now, because of years of unreliable funding, record visitation, and aging infrastructure, our national parks need an astounding $12 billion in deferred maintenance repairs.
The Restore Our Parks Act (ROPA) would set aside $6.5 billion over the next five years to fix dilapidated trails, buildings, roads, bridges, monuments, and historic markers in our parks. Amazingly, 330 members of the House of Representatives and 43 U.S. senators – from both parties – are cosponsoring this effort.
The popularity of fixing our parks is rooted in nationwide support. In a recent poll, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that 82 percent of Americans support legislation to address the deferred maintenance in our parks. Folks want to see these national treasures protected and maintained.
With all this support, you would think this would be an easy thing for Congress to get done. You’d be mistaken. Despite all the support for national parks, Congress still hasn’t found the will to push this popular legislation over the finish line. And by not acting it’s only making the problem more expensive to fix.
There is still time, though, to get the job done. Passage of the ROPA bill would deliver a win that fixes our parks, supports job creation, and invests needed money into infrastructure. It’s what the American people want and what our national parks deserve.
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