Park Service’s maintenance backlog hits $11.9 billion

Park Service’s maintenance backlog hits $11.9 billion
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The National Park Service’s deferred maintenance backlog has grown to $11.9 billion, the agency announced.

The total for fiscal year 2015, which ended in October, is $440 million above the previous year.

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The annual report from the Park Service came days before President Obama is due to roll out his last budget request. He has previously asked for $900 million over a three-year period to put a dent in the maintenance backlog.

Congress’s 2016 funding for the Park Service provided an additional $90 million for non-transportation-related deferred maintenance, and the most recent highway bill had $28 million for this year for transportation.

“While Congress provided increases this year, the annual bill for maintenance in America’s national parks is still almost twice as much as is appropriated,” Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a statement.

About half of the $11.9 billion backlog is related to transportation facilities in parks and the rest is buildings, visitor centers, trails, campgrounds and other property.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), top Democrat in the House Natural Resources Committee, said the report should spur more funding for the Park Service, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

“Years of stagnant budgets and neglect from Congress have led to infrastructure in need of repair in all of our four hundred and nine national park units, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty,” he said in a statement.

“This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service and represents an opportunity to make a significant and lasting investment in the future of our national parks,” Grijalva continued, promoting a bill he sponsored to give more than $1 billion for Park Service deferred maintenance.