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The burden of deferred maintenance on institutional and commercial facilities tends to get attention when it affects K-12 schools nationwide, but the enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act earlier this year demonstrates that the problem affects any and all publicly funded departments, programs and facilities. For example, consider the act’s impact on the nation’s fire safety infrastructure.
Federal funding is expected to become available to begin addressing the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks and public lands, according to Wildfire Today. The act transfers revenues to public lands from oil and gas royalty money derived from drilling on federal property.
The potential for $9.5 billion to be deposited into the Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund over the next five years will help cover about one-half of the current deferred maintenance backlog. The money will be distributed to public land management agencies proportionally to the amount of backlog faced by each agency – 70 percent for the National Park Service, 15 percent for the U.S. Forest Service, 5 percent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5 percent for the Bureau of Land Management, and 5 percent for the Bureau of Indian Education).
One example of the impact of the funding involves the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The funds will help replace two aging uninterruptible power system (UPS) units that serve a mission-critical data center, as well as repair failing subgrade and heating systems.
Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.