SAN ANTONIO -- The United States National Parks have been in need of a jump start on overdue maintenance projects for a while, and there may now be some hope.
U.S. Representative Will Hurd (TX-23), Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced a new bill dubbed the Restore Our Parks & Public Lands Act Wednesday. It’s aimed at helping national parks out of a nearly $12 billion backlog. The bill will use 50 percent of unallocated federal mineral revenues to a new restoration fund.
“This bill provides more flexible financing options and revenue sources to jump start these overdue maintenance projects, so that our parks can remain beautiful and accessible for future generations of park goers to enjoy.”
More than $167 million of the backlog resides in Texas, with Big Bend National Park needing over $100 million, according to a news release. The National Parks Conservation Association says because of years of insufficient funding, parks are suffering from failed water systems, deteriorated trails and poor visitor centers.
The San Antonio Missions have nearly $7 million of the backlog. A San Antonio Missions spokesperson tell us the top three projects include wall stabilization, irrigation ditch work and landscape maintenance.
Hurd introduced a similar bill last year, which helped stakeholders from both parties come together to find a solution.
Parks in the 23rd District of Texas have the following amount of deferred maintenance.:
$100,421,335 at Big Bend National Park
$7,031,046 at Amistad National Recreational Area
$6,937,728 at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
$6,411,208 at Guadalupe Mountains National Park
$2,810,717 at Fort Davis National Historic Site
U.S. Representative Will Hurd is also speaking out about how to prevent meddling by Russia in American politics.
He addressed the issue during an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
"We do believe, and know, that the Russians will always continue to try to erode trust in our democratice institutions. Why? Because the Russians are trying to re-establish the territorial integrity of the USSR."
"They're active in trying to hack into our energy companies, because they know the U.S. energy sector is an existential threat to Russia," added Hurd.
Hurd also said Congress would do what needs to support the U.S. intelligence community to keep Russia out of U.S. affairs.