Things are always “bipartisan” when it comes to increasing spending, but I say wait a minute, there are questions to be answered and alternatives to be considered.
Over the same amount of time this maintenance backlog was accruing, how much was spent for land acquisition? Where would the backlog stand if all the money for land acquisition had been spent on maintenance? And how much of that $11 billion is attributed to these new acquisitions?
Shouldn't there be a tradeoff here? No moneys for acquisition until the backlog is met? After all, lands that have a high priority for acquisition could still be acquired by exchange.
Further, we know there are many Parks that aren't really deserving of that designation. They are only there because a particular Rep. or Senator was in a powerful enough position to have them so designated. We have a BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) to address this issue for military bases. Isn't it time we have a PRAC to review our national parks and monuments?
Congress should consider both of the above prior to establishing a permanent fund to increase spending for our park system. No additional land acquisitions until the backlog is completed and establish a Park Realignment and Closure Commission to carefully review each existing national park and monument.
It's just hard for me to believe that Republicans, admitting these lands haven't been properly managed or funded, would propose more money for maintenance while continuing to fund the acquisition of even more lands. Shouldn't they fix what they have before acquiring more? Do they really believe the federal estate is too small?