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Mark Warner @MarkWarner
, 13 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
From Yellowstone to Joshua Tree, Everglades to Shenandoah here in Virginia, our #NationaParks are a treasured part of America’s natural history and heritage. #NationalParksWeek
Unfortunately, years of underfunding has produced a massive $11.6 billion (with a B) maintenance backlog at our national parks. Many are in a critical state of disrepair.
Virginia ranks 5th in terms of states with the greatest need for maintenance. Over $800 million in deferred maintenance has left Shenandoah, Jamestown, Fredericksburg, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and other national parks in need of significant repairs.
Most people agree that something must be done to address our national parks maintenance backlog. The problem, as usual, is how you pay for it.
First, the Trump Administration proposed hiking fees on our national parks, sticking families with the costs of Congress’ mismanagement. No one liked that idea, prompting the #HikeTrailsNotFees backlash and forcing the administration to reconsider its position.
The Administration has started to come around to the idea of using existing revenue to fix this problem. Unfortunately, they’ve landed on an idea, supported by some Democrats, that isn’t sustainable in the long term.…
tl;dr – Tying funding for national parks maintenance to unrealistic projections about the price of oil doesn’t solve much of anything in the long run. Frankly, it puts us right back where we started.
Here’s a better idea:
I introduced a bill last year with @SenRobPortman that has a straightforward solution: use existing money already collected by the federal government from oil and natural gas revenues to fix our parks.
That doesn't mean new taxes or new drilling, just spending our money more wisely and solving the problem.
The point here is we need a bipartisan solution that doesn’t just put a band-aid on the problem. If we want to preserve the beauty and history of our national parks for future generations, we need to work together to fully fund the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog.
I hope the Administration will take another look at my bill with @SenRobPortman, the National Park Service Legacy Act, because it really begins to solve this $11.6 billion problem.
In conclusion, and since you’ve read through 12 tweets about revenue streams for deferred park maintenance, here are some photos of some of Virginia’s magnificent #NationalParks. Thanks for reading. #NationalParksWeek
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