Trump administration supports plan to reduce National Park System maintenance backlog

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Great Smoky Mountains National Park is delaying about $215 million in maintenance projects.

The park's superintendent, Cassius Cash, said about 75% of that is road projects. Cash also said, “There are a lot of things that people don’t see as well such as wastewater systems. Things that we all depend on when we in campgrounds.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, like many of the National Park System's parks, are being forced to delay maintenance because of a lack of money. The system as a whole has an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog, according to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Wednesday, Zinke joined several Republican senators to support a bill which would use revenue from energy generated on federal lands to help erase the maintenance backlog.

The bipartisan bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), said, “This is the best idea to improve the national parks that I’ve heard of.”

This bill was just introduced Wednesday morning, and it’s still too early to tell what kind of opposition it could face in Congress.

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