By Morgan Montalvo
Lawmakers from opposing parties in Washington rarely reach consensus these days, but a legacy bill making the rounds on Capitol Hill is enjoying the support of Democrats and Republicans, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Restore Our Public Lands and Parks Act earmarks half of unappropriated government profits from mineral rights sales for National Park System priority repairs and upgrades, and jump-starts work that in many cases has been deferred for years, Texas Congressman Will Hurd tells News Radio 1200 WOAI.
Hurd, a Republican whose 23rd Congressional District covers parts of San Antonio and much of West Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border, says if passed, the bill authorizes more than $1 billion in improvements to national park and site infrastructure and environment.
"The historic structures, visitor facilities, water utility systems, health and safety issues, and then also it can go toward roads and bridges and tunnels that improve access," Hurd says.
Five sites in Texas are on the list for repairs and upgrades: San Antonio Missions National Historic Park; Big Bend National Park in the southwest part of the state; Amistad national Recreational Area near Del Rio; Fort Davis National Historic Site; and Guadalupe Mountains National Park about 100 miles east of El Paso.
If passed, the measure would authorize nearly $124 million to the five Texas sites.
"This is a bipartisan way to solve this problem," Hurd says. "The National Park Service is 100 years old last year, and we want to make sure the parks can be enjoyed by folks for the next 100 years."
The National Park Service estimates about $12 billion is needed to address facility maintenance and improvements system-wide.