National Park Service Transportation Funding – Roads and Bridges

The National Park Service currently receives $240 million through the Federal Lands Transportation Program within the federal surface transportation law. The NPS has estimated that it needs more than four times that amount per year through 2024 to restore its transportation systems into good condition and to meet growing visitor access needs. It is estimated to take $244 million to repair the Washington, D.C. Memorial Bridge alone. What is wrong with this picture?

With over 9,000 miles of roads and 1,400 bridges, the transportation system in our national parks is extensive – as it should be to provide millions of people access to our nation’s greatest natural, cultural, and historic treasures. From the Blue Ridge Parkway to the South Rim Road at the Grand Canyon to the Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC, the roads and bridges of our national parks are vital to the visitor experience.

In a transportation system so vast, it should come as no surprise that it is complicated and expensive to maintain. There are potholes to be filled, barriers to be replaced, bridges to be refurbished, and all the other wear and tear that comes with thousands of cars and buses traveling over the same surface every day. Ideally, regular maintenance would keep these facilities functioning at their best and decrease the need for major rebuilding efforts. Unfortunately, years of inadequate funding have kept the National Park Service from doing the short- and long-term maintenance necessary to keep the transportation system in the form visitors deserve to experience.

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