In less than two months Interior Department officials intend to have a plan for attacking the maintenance backlog across the public lands in the nation.
Via a secretarial order a task force was created to look out across the National Park System, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands to determine a priority for spending billions of dollars set aside through the Great American Outdoors Act for tackling the backlog.
As passed by Congress, the act will send $6.5 billion to the National Park Service to battle deferred maintenance in the National Park System and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The challenges with prioritizing Park Service projects is obvious. The roughly $12 billion backlog has been growing at a rate of hundreds of millions of dollars per year in recent years, annual sums that will lessen the impact of the additional $1.3 billion expected to be made available annually through this funding.
Among other activities, the task force will identify an initial list of priority deferred maintenance projects that are ready to be implemented in Fiscal Year 2021 and provide the list to the Secretary of the Interior.
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