February 08, 2021

Warner, Kaine & Luria Urge Biden Administration to Include Funding to Repair Colonial Parkway in President’s Budget

~ Requests funding to be allocated from Sen. Warner’s Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to address deferred maintenance along the Colonial Parkway ~

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), sent a letter urging the Biden Administration to allocate funds to address the deferred maintenance backlog at Colonial National Historical Park in the President’s FY22 budget request. Colonial National Historical Park has a deferred maintenance backlog of over $434 million, the largest backlog of any national park unit in Virginia. Specifically, the members of Congress are requesting that the Department of the Interior allocate funds that were made possible by the passage of Sen. Warner’s legislation, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), to help address deferred maintenance along the Colonial Parkway, which connects Virginia Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown Battlefield. 

“As the Department of the Interior continues its work on the FY22 Budget, we urge the Department to allocate funds from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to address significant deferred maintenance along the historic and vital Colonial Parkway, located within Colonial National Historical Park (COLO). The deferred maintenance backlog at COLO currently stands at $434 million, the highest of any unit in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Critical maintenance needs along the Colonial Parkway make up a significant portion of COLO’s deferred maintenance backlog,” wrote the Members of Congress to Department of the Interior Acting Secretary Scott de la Vega. 

In their letter, the members of Congress underscore the vital role the 23-mile scenic Colonial Parkway plays in connecting Virginia’s Historic Triangle, which Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown rely on for tourism in addition to serving as a critical local commuter route in the region. 

“In addition to linking these historic sites, the Parkway has become an important local commuter route in Eastern Virginia. Some sections carry over four million vehicles per year and the Federal Highway Administration predicts a traffic increase of nearly 50 percent over the next 20 years. Repairs to the Colonial Parkway are needed to address significant safety and flooding concerns, preserve and improve access to historical sites like Jamestown and Yorktown Battlefield, and extend the life of the Parkway,” they continued.

The Great American Outdoors Act is a product of Sen. Warner’s more than three-year effort to provide relief to national parks in Virginia, where the maintenance backlog currently sits at $1.1 billion. Last year, four Virginia projects received funding in FY21, including a project to rehabilitate the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and a project to refurbish a significant portion of Skyline Drive. The members of Congress have also sent a letter in support of  funding repairs along an 11-mile stretch of Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Yorktown, Va. 

A copy of the letter can be found here and below. 

Dear Acting Director de la Vega: 

As the Department of the Interior continues its work on the FY22 Budget, we urge the Department to allocate funds from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to address significant deferred maintenance along the historic and vital Colonial Parkway, located within Colonial National Historical Park (COLO). The deferred maintenance backlog at COLO currently stands at $434 million, the highest of any unit in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Critical maintenance needs along the Colonial Parkway make up a significant portion of COLO’s deferred maintenance backlog.

The Colonial Parkway holds significant historical value and plays a vital role for communities in Eastern Virginia. Completed in 1957, the Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile scenic roadway that extends from the York River at Yorktown to the James River at Jamestown. The Parkway connects Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown Battlefields – three of the most historically significant sites in our country. Congress passed the GAOA in large part to preserve our historical sites for future generations of Americans. Virginia’s Historic Triangle is integral to the story of our nation’s founding. 

In addition to linking these historic sites, the Parkway has become an important local commuter route in Eastern Virginia. Some sections carry over four million vehicles per year and the Federal Highway Administration predicts a traffic increase of nearly 50 percent over the next 20 years. Repairs to the Colonial Parkway are needed to address significant safety and flooding concerns, preserve and improve access to historical sites like Jamestown and Yorktown Battlefield, and extend the life of the Parkway.

Thank you for your attention to this request. We understand the difficult task the Department has in allocating GAOA funds. We look forward to working with the Department on implementation of GAOA to ensure our national parks and public lands have the resources they need to reduce the deferred maintenance backlog and rebuild critical infrastructure. 

Sincerely,

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