Apr 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Interior Department to invest $1.6 billion into public lands

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland walking into the Department of Interior in March 2021.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland walking into the Department of Interior in March 2021. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Department of the Interior announced Friday it will invest $1.6 billion to improve transportation and recreation infrastructure in national parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas as part of the Great American Outdoors Act passed last year.

Why it matters: The department said the investment, which includes improvements for Bureau of Indian Education schools, will support an estimated 18,800 jobs and contribute $2 billion to the nation’s annual gross domestic product.

What they're saying: “Through the Great American Outdoors Act, we are investing in the American people, and in the future of our public lands and sacred spaces,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

  • "We must address the long-delayed maintenance needs of the nation’s aging buildings and infrastructure. Importantly, this funding also honors our commitment to Tribal communities by investing in Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools for current and future generations," Haaland added.

The big picture: The first major expense, $3 million to the National Park Service, will complete the restoration of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

  • The act grants as much as $1.6 billion for the National Park System yearly to address its multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at national parks, on other public lands and at tribal schools, according to the department.
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