Murkowski, Enzi: New Report Suggests Improvements to Management of NPS Maintenance Backlog

GAO Recommends NPS Determine Whether Intended Outcomes Are Being Achieved

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., today welcomed the release of a report they requested from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examining the National Park Service’s (NPS) deferred maintenance backlog. The report outlines the amount and composition of deferred maintenance reported within the NPS, the methodology the agency uses to determine maintenance priorities, and the need for the NPS to evaluate the effectiveness of its strategy for prioritizing maintenance decisions.

“I appreciate GAO’s efforts to identify weaknesses and make recommendations that can improve how the Park Service manages its deferred maintenance backlog,” Murkowski said. “The longer our parks go without the attention they need, the more costly it will become for taxpayers to properly steward and restore these historical and cultural gems. I am encouraged that NPS agrees with GAO’s recommendations and look forward to seeing them implemented.”

“It is key that we keep access open to our National Parks. They play such an important role in communities around the country,” Enzi said. “This report from the Government Accountability Office shines a revealing light on the billions of dollars in deferred maintenance on the park’s main infrastructure. It is vital that the National Park Service takes this issue seriously by improving efficiency and better prioritizing maintenance in order to ensure our parks are up to snuff.”

Within its new report, GAO recommends that “the Park Service evaluate the Capital Investment Strategy and results to assess whether it has achieved its intended outcomes.”

GAO found that NPS’ deferred maintenance – the maintenance of assets that was not performed when it should have been and is delayed for a future period – “averaged $11.3 billion from fiscal years 2009 through 2015.” The largest share of the agency’s deferred maintenance includes bridges, tunnels, and paved roadways, which accounts for half of all deferred maintenance in fiscal year 2015.

Murkowski is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Enzi is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. GAO’s new report is entitled “Process Exists for Prioritization Asset Maintenance Decisions, but Evaluation Could Improve Efforts” and can be accessed here.