The United States Government passed a new law Tuesday that would infuse additional funds into the National Park Service for long-overdue maintenance.
According to Reuters.com, President Donald Trump signing the Great American Outdoors Act would permanently direct $900 million a year into a longstanding federal program designed to maintain more than 5,500 miles of road, 17,000 miles of trails and 24,000 buildings on public lands, national parks and Native American schools.
“Today we’re making the most significant investment in our parks since the administration of the legendary conservationist President Theodore Roosevelt,” President Trump said during a signing ceremony at the White House.
Work on the bipartisan bill was led by Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado, Steve Daines of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The law protects the Land and Water Conservation Fund and doubles the money allotted for the program by tapping royalties paid by offshore oil and gas drilling operations.
Congress has rerouted funds from the program in recent years, with the conservation and maintenance efforts receiving only $495 million last year. President Trump said $10 billion would immediately be used to address deferred maintenance needs at national parks and forests.
Vice President Mike Pence also revealed the bill would help create more than 110,000 new infrastructure jobs across the country. National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth shared a statement about the new legislation.
“Today we celebrate a watershed moment in the conservation community,” Shafroth said. “Enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act affirms our shared commitment to caring for America’s national parks and public lands. Tackling our parks’ long overdue maintenance needs will ensure they are safe and accessible for all, offering inspiration for generations to come.”
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