H.R. 1049 would authorize appropriations from 2020 through 2034 for the National Park Service (NPS) to provide financial and technical assistance to National Heritage Areas (NHAs), which are nonfederal entities designed to commemorate and conserve natural, historic, and cultural resources. In 2020, the NPS allocated $21 million to support NHAs.
According to the NPS, 54 NHAs are eligible to receive federal funds and the bill would authorize up to $750,000 for each area, or about $41 million each year. Because it would take future legislation to change the number of NHAs, CBO’s estimate is based on the current number of 54. Assuming appropriation of those amounts, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1049 would cost $167 million over the 2020-2025 period. The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget function 300 (natural resources and the environment).
H.R. 1049 would impose private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) on the local coordinating entity of each NHA. Such entities are designated by law to oversee their respective area.
The bill would require those local coordinating entities to submit a management plan for their heritage area to the Secretary of the Interior, submit annual financial reports, and make information available for auditing. The bill also would authorize annual payments of $750,000 to each NHA through 2034. Because the mandate would affect a small number of entities and many already meet some or all of these duties, CBO estimates the cost of the mandate would not exceed the private-sector threshold established in UMRA ($168 million in 2020, adjusted annually for inflation).
H.R. 1049 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA.