On July 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoor Act (S. 3422/H.R. 1957), which was introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), by a vote of 310-107. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Trump. Ahead of the vote, ABC sent a letter to the House in support of the legislation, urging the swift consideration and approval of the Senate-passed version of the bill.
This bipartisan legislation would help address the $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog in the Department of the Interior, $12 billion of which is accumulated by the National Park Service, creating thousands of construction jobs in the process.
The bill will create the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Fund, which would direct up to $9.5 billion in nontaxpayer funds over five years to improve infrastructure within the NPS and other agencies with significant deferred maintenance backlog, much of which is related to transportation assets.
A 2019 Pew Research Center-commissioned report by the Cadmus Group found that addressing the NPS’ nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog would create or support an estimated 108,364 construction jobs. This increase in construction demand generated by the Great American Outdoors Act would deliver much-needed jobs to the construction industry.
The Great American Outdoors Act would also ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which would permanently secure the financial integrity of one of the most important public land conservation programs while bolstering the $778 billion outdoor recreation economy.
ABC will continue to update members on this legislation in Newsline.