Investing in American infrastructure is one of President Trump’s top priorities, and his commitment is clear: to “build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land.” What’s more, he has promised that “we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.” It goes without saying that this should command broad, bipartisan support.
As Secretary of the Interior, I am familiar with the need for a renewed investment in American infrastructure. One of the ways Interior plans to tackle its infrastructure needs is through the President’s legislative proposal for a new Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. The Fund—also requested in Interior’s 2020 budget—would dovetail with the Restore our Parks Act pending before Congress, to ensure a long-term investment in infrastructure on America’s public lands.
These infrastructure needs at Interior often center on our national parks, which attract more than 300 million visitors every year. Last year’s 318 million visits to our National Parks generated an economic impact of $40 billion and supported 329,000 jobs in hotels, restaurants, transportation and recreation. And yet, a lot of the infrastructure in our parks is a half a century old or older. Maintaining roads and bridges, visitor centers, historic buildings, trails and campgrounds, therefore, is a difficult task.
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