GOP calls for probe of park service spending

Three Senate Republicans want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the spending habits of the National Park Service.

In a letter to the GAO on Monday, Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (Alaska), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziGOP is addressing tax cuts and a pension bill that could help coal miners Overnight Finance: Congress sends Trump funding bill to avert shutdown | WH sees 'tentative' deal on defense spending | GOP discovers corporate tax snag | Consumer bureau fight heats up | Apple could see B windfall from tax bill Overnight Finance: Congress sends Trump bill to avert shutdown | GOP discovers corporate tax snag | CFPB leadership battle rages MORE (Wyo.) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnRepublicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare Former GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder MORE (Okla.) said the growing backlog of maintenance projects raises questions about the efficiency and priorities of the park service.

"Last year alone, the National Park Service delayed more than a quarter billion dollars in much needed maintenance projects, adding another substantial sum to the over $11.5 billion deferred maintenance backlog already threatening the health, safety, and accessibility of park visitors,” the letter states.

β€œIn the current fiscally-constrained environment, effective allocation of resources is especially important and it is our understanding that a formal review of the National Park Service has never been conducted.”

The park service came under the spotlight in October when the government shutdown resulted in the closure of all 401 national sites, drawing fierce public criticism.

The senators want the GAO to investigate inefficiencies, identify solutions for reducing the current maintenance backlog, including a look at improving revenue streams and review the recreational fee program.