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National Park Infrastructure Gets $9.5 Billion Boost

Feature Photo (above): The Lake Meredith National Recreation Area north of Amarillo. Image: Google Streets.

Posted 9/3/2020

by Art Benavidez

Last month, President Trump signed a bill that will help get the ball rolling on large infrastructure projects in U.S. national parks and other federal lands that have been backlogged for years.

The Great American Outdoors Act calls for a boost of $9.5 billion over the next five years to provide needed maintenance for critical facilities.

The act will use revenues from energy development to provide up to $1.9 billion a year for five years and should be consequential to the Texas construction industry when any of the state’s national parks receive funding.

The funding comes from the royalties of offshore oil and natural gas production. That revenue stream is to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country.

National Park Service Public Affairs Specialist Kathy Kupper said the objective of the bill was to sustain a lasting setup at parks within the federal system.  

The Big Thicket National Preserve in Hardin and Tyler counties. Image: Google Streets.

 “Funding of this magnitude provides the administration with the opportunity to reduce the maintenance backlog, protect critical resources, expand recreational opportunities and focus on long-term sustainable operations for the next century,” Kupper said

 The list of projects that will be funded by the act has yet to be determined, according to Kupper.

“We will not speculate on which projects will be funded by this source specifically,” she said. “However, each national park has detailed information regarding existing deferred maintenance needs.”

Many of the national parks in Texas provided deferred maintenance reports concerning the assessment of their condition. 

The combined needs of federal parks in the Lone Star State total about $206 million. Here is a list of National Park Service parks and monuments in Texas with their listed needs:

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, located in the Texas Panhandle, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $1 million with:

  • $659,000 for deferred maintenance.
  • $207,000 for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $60,000.
  • Unpaved roads ($425,000) and paved roads and structures ($286,000) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $790,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Amistad National Recreation Area. Image: Google Streets.

Amistad National Recreation Area, located near Del Rio in Val Verde County, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total over $11 million with:

  • $6 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $5 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounting for $588,000.
  • Paved roads and structures ($4 million) and water systems ($1 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $641,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Big Bend National Park, located in West Texas, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $101 million with:

  • $90 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $11 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $1 million.
  • Paved roads and structures ($68 million) and buildings ($11 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $4 million in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Big Thicket National Preserve, located in East Texas, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $6 million with:

  • $4 million for deferred maintenance.
  •  $463,000 for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $1 million.
  • Trails ($2 million) and buildings ($751,000) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $650,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Chamizal National Memorial, located in El Paso, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total just over $3 million with:

  • $3 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $459,000 for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $341,000.
  • Buildings ($1 million) and paved roads and structures ($1 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $145,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Fort Davis National Historic Site, located in West Texas, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $7 million with:

  • $5 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $1 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $836,000.
  • Buildings ($4 million) and housing ($651,000) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $344,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located east of El Paso, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $11 million with:

  • $6 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $1 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $4 million.
  • Paved roads and structures ($5 million) and buildings ($1 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $1 million in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, located about 30 miles north of Amarillo, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $16 million with:

  • $14 million for deferred maintenance.
  •  $1 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $536,000.
  • Paved roads and structures ($10 million) and unpaved roads ($2 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $754,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park, located about 50 miles west of Austin, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $9 million with:

  • $7 million for deferred maintenance.
  •  $2 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $92,000.
  • Buildings ($4 million) and paved roads and structures ($2 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $585,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park. Image: Google Streets.

Padre Island National Seashore, located just outside of Corpus Christi, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $19 million with:

  • $8 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $10 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $1 million.
  • Paved roads and structures ($7 million) and unpaved roads ($4 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $604,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park, near Brownsville, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total $1 million with:

  • $866,000 for deferred maintenance.
  • $387,000 for capital improvements.
  • Trails ($630,000) and buildings ($205,000) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $128,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, located in San Antonio, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total over $20 million with:

  • $11 million for deferred maintenance.
  • $9 million for capital improvements.
  • Other facility maintenance accounts for $267,000.
  • Buildings ($10 million) and unpaved roads ($2 million) have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $688,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement.

Waco Mammoth National Monument, located in Waco, their outstanding estimated maintenance needs total over $1 million with:

  • $563,000 for deferred maintenance.
  • $810,000 for capital improvements.
  • Waste water systems ($573,000) and paved roads ($531,000) and structures have the highest estimated maintenance needs by asset category at the park.
  • There is also an additional $56,000 in annual routine maintenance requirement. 

The bill is expected to cut the Park’s Service’s infrastructure accumulation by half or more with the agency approximating that its transportation maintenance backlog is at about $6.2 billion and its non-transportation backlog at about $5.8 million.


art@virtualbx.com

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