Backlog of deferred maintenance grew for National Park Service

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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- The National Park Service says the backlog of deferred maintenance grew by more than $313 million last year.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Mark Warner said these newly-released numbers emphasize the need to pass the Restore Our Parks Act, which will aim to address the backlog.

According to the NPS, the total overall cost of backlogged maintenance at parks across the country is now $11.9 billion.

"Unfortunately, these numbers show what we already know. The longer we wait, the worse this backlog becomes," said Warner. "Our national parks are hurting and with the parks maintenance backlog in Virginia alone totaling $1.1 billion, we cannot afford to delay these repairs any longer. We need to pass the Restore Our Parks act and fund the critical renovations our parks require."

During fiscal year 2018, NPS did complete more than $671 million in needed repairs, but the backlog still grew by more than $300 million over fiscal year 2017.

Warner says the backlog in Virginia grew from $1 billion in 2017 to more than $1.1 billion in 2018, including almost $10 million more in deferred maintenance at Shenandoah National Park, more than $12 million at Colonial National Historical Park, more than $60 million for the George Washington Memorial Parkway and more than $26 million for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

For example, the deferred maintenance at Shenandoah National Park would have required $79 million in fiscal year 2017, but that grew to more than $88 million in fiscal year 2018.

For the Blue Ridge Parkway, the cost for the deferred maintenance was $186 million in 2017 but that reached $212 million in 2018.

The Restore Our Parks Act would create the National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund and would allocate existing revenue from onshore and offshore energy development.

A release from Warner's office says the funding would come from 50 percent of all revenues that are not otherwise allocated and deposited into the General Treasury, but it would not exceed $1.3 billion each year for five years.

The legislation has support from both sides of the aisle. It was re-introduced in the U.S. Senate in February, and a companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House at the same time.

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