National Infrastructure Week is May 14-21 and there is no better time to highlight the backlog of deferred maintenance needs in our National Park System, which ballooned to $11.6 billion in 2017. Here in North Dakota, our magnificent Theodore Roosevelt National Park is saddled with almost $50 million in infrastructure needs.
Maintaining national park infrastructure, including roads, trails, historic structures and visitor centers, is important to providing a safe and memorable experience for current and future visitors. If that weren't cause enough, it turns out that repairing these special places provides economic benefits to our state.
An analysis commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts found that if the deferred maintenance backlog were fully addressed, more than 110,000 jobs could be created or supported nationwide, including 527 right here in North Dakota. Congress should provide dedicated and reliable funding to invest in our national parks. It's great for our state and it's great for the economy.
Russ Hanson, Bismarck