Cost Savings Mean the National Park Service Can Fund More Projects In the Parks

Cost savings will enable the National Park Service to fund more repair work across the National Park System. One project will restore missing arches from what was once called the "Most Beautiful Aqueduct" on the canal. NPS historic photo of a lauch traveling on the Conococheague Aqueduct.

Favorable contract pricing on some of the major construction projects the National Park Service has funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment dollars means the agency will be able to afford more projects.

According to agency officials, savings so far have amounted to roughly $129 million, and that's enough to fund another "30 high priority projects across the country, putting additional people to work in ways that will leave a permanent legacy for our national parks through critical facility improvements, infrastructure repairs, and energy efficiency enhancements."

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to do so much more with our Recovery Act funding than we originally planned," said Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. "Certainly the market dynamics play a significant role in the pricing we’re seeing, but I also credit the execution and hard work of our team. These projects represent critical priorities for us that will also benefit the economy and create jobs in the near term.”

The list of newly funded construction projects includes:

* The transformation of a former military facility into an education and research campus at Acadia National Park. The project will reconfigure roads, remodel three buildings into classrooms and labs and complete the majority of work converting the base to the Schoodic Educational and Research Center.

* The installation of photovoltaic cells on Alcatraz Island in Golden Gate National Recreation Area to replace the existing diesel generated power on the island.

* The rehabilitation of the 138–year-old Catoctin Aqueduct, part of C & O Canal National Historic Park. The project will restore two missing arches of what was once called the “Most Beautiful Aqueduct” on the canal, replace missing handrail sections and generally improve its condition and lifespan.

The Park Service also has announced the replacement of 26 projects with 36 additional projects totaling $9.3 million. Projects are being replaced for various reasons, such as prior completion with non-ARRA funds or because they cannot be completed within the Recovery Act timeframe. The NPS selected the replacement projects from existing contingency lists using established merit-based criteria for expediency of implementation, job creation potential and ability to address high-priority mission needs.

Projects that are being replaced will remain priorities for the NPS, so will likely be completed with other funding in future years, the agency said.

The current list of the NPS ARRA projects can be found at the following link:

http://recovery.doi.gov/press/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/nps_arra-project-list_march_2010.pdf

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, $750 million went to the NPS to fund job-creating investments in critical infrastructure and facilities, trail restoration, abandoned mine remediation, and energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Comments

This is really good news and evidence of good management by Director Jarvis and staff.

When the parks take a beating by the usual suspects for whateverthehell the issue of the day is, it is good to acknowledge the attaboys as well.

I'm glad to hear that the Catoctin aqueduct will be rehabbed, it's a stately old structure that will finally get the attention it deserves. It's nice to know where some of this stimulus money is actually going, and that it will actually do some good! After all the stories of graft, nepotism and abuses, how gratifying to know some people at the top exercise good sense.