Counties are urging Congress to enact legislation to address the deferred maintenance backlog and the deteriorating state of infrastructure on federal public lands. In fiscal year 2018, the deferred maintenance backlog was estimated at $19.4 billion, which primarily impacts roads, trails, bridges and visitor centers.
Coconino County, Ariz. Supervisor Elizabeth Archuleta testified June 18 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources about her concerns over deferred maintenance needs and possible solutions.
“Counties urge Congress to enact legislation to tackle the deferred maintenance backlog so that we continue to lead the world in providing an outdoor experience that is second to none,” Archuleta said.
Coconino County is home to many public lands such as the Grand Canyon National Park, she explained.
The county’s economy relies on tourism and recreation surrounding the land. With 62 percent of counties nationwide having federal land within their boundaries, federal policies impact the well-being of local communities, she said.
In Coconino County, the National Park Service estimates the backlog at $330 million in deferred maintenance in Grand Canyon National Park. The deteriorating state of infrastructure in the county includes an old pipeline as well as poorly maintained roads and trails.