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Stimulus provides billions for public lands, other recreation goals

The "economic stimulus" bill addresses transportation funding, including Transportation Enhancements and opportunities to create Complete Streets.

From American Recreation Coalition
March 3, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law by President Obama on February 17 contains much support for the recreation industry and for America’s public lands. While the final version of the bill provides less funding than the House version, the economic stimulus package allocates some $3 billion to public land management agencies for improvement, maintenance and more.

The National Park Service will receive $735 million for construction and maintenance. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will receive $165 million, $650 million and $315 million respectively for construction projects. The U.S. Geological Survey will receive $140 million for modernization, and $15 million has been set aside for historic preservation grants. Highways and transportation enhancements on federal lands will receive $550 million, including $170 million for park roads and parkways. The stimulus also contains a total of $515 million for wildfire prevention at the federal and state levels.

In addition to much needed funding for land management agencies covered in the stimulus bill, the President has recently made clear other priorities that should benefit the recreation community, including steps to reopen credit markets and more proactive preventive healthcare measures. In his February 24 “State of the Nation” address, President Obama remarked, “The concern is that if we do not re-start lending in this country, our recovery will be choked off before it even begins.” He also commended the Congress for its recent efforts to advance healthcare as “the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that is one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control.”

Now is the time for the recreation community to continue emphasizing the links between healthy outdoor lifestyles and lower healthcare costs.

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