Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives is calling for an appropriation of around $6.5 billion to be spent on upgrading a series of infrastructure projects within the nation’s federal parks.
The measure was approved on a 32 to 2 vote in the House Natural Resources Committee earlier this summer.
That money would go for such things as repairing and upgrading crumbling roads, bringing deteriorating campgrounds up to date, and rehabilitating water and sewer systems.
To pay for the appropriation, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act would direct money from fees, already being paid on an annual basis to the federal government, from oil and gas companies.
It is thought that the total National Park infrastructure upgrade costs, encompassing just over sixty individual parks, could be as great as $12 billion.
Those parks include the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great San Dunes, Mesa Verde, and Rocky Mountain in Colorado; the Carlsbad Caverns of New Mexico; and the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro in Arizona.
Proponents of the bill say that a comprehensive upgrading of the National Park infrastructure has not been undertaken since the 1960s.
As proposed, the legislation would dedicate $1.3 billion each year for a period of five years for park repairs and upgrades.
A survey released this month by the Pew Charitable Trust indicates that 82 percent of respondents were in favor of the legislation.
By Garry Boulard
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