From Preservation Action:
This week the House passed the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), a $715 billion, five-year transportation bill. The final bill included an amendmentfrom Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) to permanently reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and double it's authorization from $150 million annually to $300 million annually. This is huge news for historic preservation. The amendment was included as part of a larger en bloc package of amendments that was approved Wednesday evening, with the final bill passing 221-201 on Thursday. Preservation Action joined other preservation organizations in officially endorsing this amendment and sent a letter to House leadership urging support of this important amendment earlier this week. We can't thank Rep. Leger Fernandez enough for her leadership and strong support of historic preservation.
The Historic Preservation Fund was established in 1976 and authorized at $150 million annually for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs/THPOs) to carry out their federally mandated responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act. Since that time their duties and activities have increased significantly and the number of THPOs have grown exponentially, while the HPF's authorization level has remained stagnant. In recent years, the HPF has also become the primary source of funding for additional, important preservation grant programs like Save America's Treasures, Historic Black Colleges and Universities grants, Civil Rights grants and others, many of which are helping to save and interpret sites associated with underrepresented communities. Robust funding for the HPF is needed to recognize, protect, and utilize historic resources that tell our diverse American story.
More work is needed to make sure these critical changes to the HPF are enacted into law. A bipartisan group in the Senate reached an agreement with the Biden administration on an outline for infrastructure legislation. The INVEST Act isn't far off from that agreement and could serve as a basis for future infrastructure legislation. Preservation Action will continue to follow the emerging infrastructure legislation and keep you informed on how you can take action!
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