Bill to fix repairs await action by Congressional leadership

BUCKHANNON — Local leaders across the country, including Mayor McCauley of Buckhannon as one of 11 in West Virginia, 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 West Virginia.

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would go a long way to fix deteriorating historic buildings, crumbling roads, eroding trails and campgrounds, and outdated water and sewer systems. The New River Gorge has over $21 million in deferred maintenance that needs attention.  

“Park restoration is crucial,” said Mayor of Buckhannon, Dave McCauley. “It supported over a thousand jobs and added nearly $74 million to the state economy in 2018 alone.”

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. In West Virginia, we are fortunate that our entire delegation has signed on to co-sponsor this vital piece of legislation.