Congress has passed the biggest investment in national parks in decades.
The House voted Wednesday to approve the Great American Outdoors Act, a sweeping conservation and public lands bill, which President Donald Trump has pledged to sign into law.
Over the next five years, it will put up to $9.5 billion towards a backlog in needed maintenance for roads, facilities and more.
“So, the park service, instead of doing band-aid fixes, they will have reliable, consistent funding to start doing some of these priority repairs, to ensure that our park service sites are safe, accessible, and they’ll be around for generations to come,” said Marcia Argust, Director of the Restore America’s Parks Project.
Argust advocated for the Great American Outdoors Act. She says this is the perfect time to make the investment, because Americans are looking to get outdoors more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parks service has found the legislation will create 100,000 additional jobs. That’s on top of the boost to businesses in surrounding communities that rely on visitors.
Plus, the recreation industry as a whole supports 5.2 million jobs.
“So, those are really important to sustain now more than ever, so this legislation during these times makes a lot of sense,” said Argust.
The bill does not call for using taxpayer dollars. Money is expected to start flowing into national parks in October.