Bill to fix repairs await action by Congressional leadership
Highlands, NJ— Local leaders across the country, including 13 in NJ, are calling on congressional leadership to act on legislation that would invest in serious repairs, ensuring that national parks continue to sustain tourism dollars, bolster local economies, and preserve national treasures in NJ.
More than 400 local elected officials across the nation sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asking them to move legislation forward to address high priority deferred maintenance issues.
These repairs account for more than half of National Park Service’s (NPS) $12 billion maintenance backlog, and $6.5 billion provided by the legislation would go a long way to fix deteriorating historic buildings, crumbling roads, eroding trails and campgrounds, and outdated water and sewer systems. Gateway National Recreation Area alone is facing $123,286,570 according to data provided by the National Parks Service in 2018.
“Gateway National Recreation Area is literally an economic gateway for many of our restaurants, retailers and other tourism-related businesses here in Highlands. We’re so lucky to have such wonderful beaches right in our backyard that it’s our duty to ensure we continue the much needed repairs to Gateway.” said Mayor Rick O’Neil.
As the Mayor of a New Jersey Bayshore Community located before the entranceway to Sandy Hook Beach, I am speaking on behalf of Highlands and the neighboring towns that all benefit from the 1.7M visitors to the this National Park each year,
The Restore Our Parks Act in the Senate (S. 500) and the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act in the House (H.R. 1225) would direct up to $6.5 billion over five years to address priority maintenance needs, financed by unobligated mineral revenues from public lands and waters. The legislation has support from nearly ½ of the Senate and over ¾ of the House of Representatives, including 11 of our 12 Members of Congress and Senator Cory Booker in New Jersey.