Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Nearly $2.5 million is being diverted from smaller national parks to help pay for President Trump's July 4 celebration

Some smaller national parks will not get long-delayed maintenance and repairs because the Interior Department is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees to help pay for President Trump's Independence Day celebration in Washington, D.C., according to two sources with inside knowledge, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe report for The Washington Post.

"By tapping entrance fees to cover the presidential event, Interior is siphoning money that is typically used to enhance the visitor experience either on the Mall or at smaller parks across the country, with projects ranging from road and bridge repair to habitat restoration. The transfer amounts to nearly 5 percent of the funds that less-profitable parks used last year for upgrades," the Post reports.

The entire Fourth of July celebration typically costs Interior's National Park Service about $2 million, according to a former NPS official. It's unknown how much this year's event will cost, but it's far more elaborate than in years past and will therefore likely cost much more, the Post reports.

As of March, the service had an almost $12 billion maintenance backlog because of chronic underfunding. Many parks are also still trying to recover from the federal shutdown earlier this year, since tourists trashed understaffed parks.

No comments: