The National Park Service has been challenged for decades by deteriorating roads, bridges and infrastructure located within park boundaries.

Earlier this year, the agency identified numerous deferred transportation and maintenance projects in its parks that will cost $11.5 billion to address. More than $6 billion of these overdue repairs can be addressed through the upcoming federal highway funding bill.

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In Maryland, there are $345 million worth of overdue maintenance projects at our national parks, including $1.3 million in delayed transportation-specific repairs for Fort McHenry.

Unsafe roads put drivers, pedestrians and cyclists at risk. It's about more than just improving safety. Investing in our national parks supports jobs and spurs economic growth.

According to the National Park Service, national parks in Maryland helped support more than 3,000 private-sector jobs in 2014. And according to the National Parks Conservation Association, every federal dollar invested in national parks becomes $10 for the economy through visitor spending, travel, tourism and construction jobs.

The National Park Service's centennial in 2016 is a historic opportunity for Sen. Ben Cardin to use his position on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees national park transportation funding, to ensure our parks have the resources to thrive.

Anne Donahue, Baltimore

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