Costa Calls for Bipartisan Solutions for Public Land and Park Maintenance
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee, called for bipartisan action to address the over $16 billion worth of public land maintenance projects currently backlogged due to lack of funding within the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The unattended maintenance projects are perhaps most noticeable at U.S. national parks, which themselves have over $11.6 billion worth of backlogged maintenance. Yosemite National Park, often said to be the crown jewel of national parks in California, has over $555 million in maintenance work currently not being addressed. On average, over 3.7 million people visit Yosemite every year, with over 100,000 individuals still visiting the park in its slowest month. This maintenance backlog can restrict both areas of the park and facilities open to visitors.
During today’s National Resources Committee oversight hearing, Congressman Costa shared that the backlog of maintenance “has accumulated over decades,” but that raising national park fees is not an acceptable solution. According to Costa, increasing park fees is an “uneven way to handle it, doesn’t really get to the heart of the problem, and it certainly creates tremendous disadvantages for Americans who want to enjoy their parks.” Rep. Costa noted that “this is an area where we can and should have bipartisan support… The fact of the matter is, so many of our national parks throughout the country need the support.” He then called for the committee to “focus our time on a bipartisan bill that can provide real money to do this,” such as the National Park Service Legacy Act.
Watch Congressman Costa’s Full Statement Here: