Word from Shenandoah National Park is that its deferred maintenance costs have risen from $79.2 million in 2017 to $88.7 million in 2018, causing Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner this week to call for passage of the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act.
New numbers just out from the National Park Service reveal the nationwide backlog of deferred maintenance needs grew by more than $313 million last year — with a $100 million increase in Virginia alone. The total overall cost of backlogged maintenance projects at NPS sites now reaches $11.9 billion.
Virginia’s total maintenance backlog increased from $1 billion dollars in FY17 to $1.1 billion in FY18. This includes an increase of almost $10 million in deferred maintenance at Shenandoah National Park, more than $12 million at Colonial National Historical Park, more than $60 million for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and more than $26 million for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“Unfortunately, these numbers show what we already know — the longer we wait, the worse this backlog becomes,” Warner said Tuesday. “Our national parks are hurting, and with the parks maintenance backlog in Virginia alone totaling $1.1 billion, we cannot afford to delay these repairs any longer.”
Warner, who will be meeting with Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee today (Thursday) to discuss the backlog, reintroduced the Restore Our Parks Act last month along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME).