WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing today on the National Park Service (NPS), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) took her committee colleague Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to task after he alleged NPS mismanagement was to blame for the crumbling state of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Norton said it was instead the failure of Congress to provide even the minimal amount of funding necessary to maintain NPS property nationwide. Congress provided NPS with only $268 million in fiscal year 2016 for its entire transportation infrastructure nationwide, while the rebuilding of the Arlington Memorial Bridge alone would cost $250 million.
The Federal Highway Administration has said the Memorial Bridge must close by 2021 unless it is completely rebuilt. In her questioning, Norton got NPS Director Jonathon Jarvis to say on the record that Memorial Bridge is NPS’s priority project.
“Today, I had to remind the committee that congressional refusal to invest in our nation’s infrastructure is causing major bridges, including the Arlington Memorial Bridge, to fall into states of disrepair,” Norton said. “NPS mismanagement has nothing to do with the current state of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. It has everything to do with Republicans, who for years have refused to appropriate funds to rebuild NPS infrastructure despite constant calls from NPS and our regional delegation in Congress. It is a national embarrassment that the iconic gateway to the South, and the only route to the hallowed Arlington National Cemetery, is on the brink of crumbling into the Potomac River. I am grateful to our regional delegation, particularly Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), for working with me earlier this year to help NPS apply for a new Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects competitive grant, a program I got included in the recently-passed five-year surface transportation bill, to rebuild the Memorial Bridge. I will continue to raise the profile of the desperate state of our region’s most important bridge, which has sadly become a symbol of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.”