July 29, 2021
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The Department of the Interior plans to invest $1.6 billion in 2021 to address critical deferred maintenance projects, plus improve transportation and recreation infrastructure in national parks, national wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and at Bureau of Indian Education schools.

[Above photo by the Interior Department.]

That funding comes from the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund established in 2020 by the Great American Outdoors Act, which provides up to $1.6 billion annually for five years to help address a multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at national parks, on other public lands, and at tribal schools.

The 165 “deferred maintenance projects” the department plans to address with this fiscal year 2021 funding includes recreation facilities, visitor centers, dams, water and utility infrastructure, schools and other historic structures. Other projects aim to increase public access by restoring and repairing roads, trails, bridges, and parking areas.

Projects will take place in areas managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education, the agency said in a statement.

In addition to funding via the Legacy Restoration Fund annually through fiscal year 2025, which will provide up to $8.1 billion over the next five years, the Great American Outdoors Act also provides for $900 million annually into perpetuity via the Land and Water Conservation Fund to support new conversation and recreation opportunities.

Great American Outdoors Act funding is also supporting transportation investments by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In March, the agency announced plans to invest $285 million to help the Forest Service address critical deferred maintenance and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure within national forests and grasslands.

editor@aashto.org

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