The 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU - Public Law 109-59) authorized $1.05 billion for the Federal Lands Highway Park Roads and Parkways (PRP) program for FY 2005-2009. An additional $500 million has been authorized by Congressional continuing resolutions for FY 2010 and 2011.
The NPS's primary investment priority has been to rehabilitate structurally deficient bridges and to rehabilitate roads (and reduce the backlog of "deferred maintenance needs" in paved roads) to preserve the useful life of these facilities. Between FY 2006-2009, the PRP Program funded 101 projects at 71 park units in 41 states. With PRP funding, the NPS has rehabilitated and reconstructed 750.4 miles of roadway and 85 bridges, achieving a 97 percent obligation rate or better of PRP Program funds for each year since SAFETEA-LU was enacted. On average, actual construction constitutes 75 percent of this work, while the remainder is spent on such things as construction project design, project planning and visitor transportation system planning, road inventory and condition assessment, and environmental compliance. Under continuing resolutions since FY 2010, the NPS has continued to plan, design, and construct additional road and bridge improvements.
Under SAFETEA-LU, the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks (TRIP) program was created. The national competitive TRIP program has awarded approximately $40 million to NPS out of the approximately $120 million authorized between FY 2006 and 2010. The other $80 million has been awarded to other participating Federal Land Agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, and state, local and tribal transit agencies. The majority of NPS TRIP projects awards have been for transit vehicles, planning studies and non-motorized transportation.
In February 2009, the NPS received an additional $170 million (through the Federal Lands Highways Program [FLHP]) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA Public Law 111-5). These additional funds enabled the NPS to complete additional road and bridge improvements. The Department of the Interior provided NPS with approximately $110 million in additional ARRA funds. The ARRA funds made possible improvements in some of our national icons, such as Great Smoky Mountains, Glacier, Shenandoah, Denali and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks.
The passage of SAFETEA-LU also included funding for Congressional "High Priority" projects; other earmarked projects where funded through annual discretionary grants. Under SAFETEA-LU, alone, the NPS has 42 earmark projects totaling almost $148 million intended for improvements to park units in 18 states and 6 NPS regions. These projects range from trails, roads, and docks, to transit and visitor centers (e.g., Ft. McHenry). Other examples include: road improvements to the Flight 93 memorial and dock facilities serving many NPS sites.
Out of nearly $2 billion invested in the NPS transportation system over the last 4 years, approximately 59 percent of the funding has come through the U.S. Department of Transportation (e.g., FLHP, TRIP, etc.) with the remaining 41 percent of the funding coming from NPS appropriated funds (e.g., Repair-Rehabilitation Program, Recreation Fees, etc.).