WASHINGTON The White House proposed a $2.4 billion budget Monday for the National Park Service, which could grow by an additional $200 million based on the Centennial Challenge.
Utah's national parks and areas controlled by the Bureau of Land Management or other federal agencies are subject to the Interior Department's budget, which President Bush unveiled Monday and now Congress will begin to negotiate. The overall Interior Department budget request is $10.7 billion.
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said Monday the country will be ready for the National Park Service's 100th Birthday in 2016, based on the administration's continue support of the Centennial Challenge a program unveiled last year.
On top of the $2.4 billion for the National Park Service, the president has proposed an additional $100 million to match donations to the parks, which could then lead to $200 million additional dollars.
The latest budget request calls for legislation to create a mandatory fund for the Centennial Challenge money.
"The potential power of the Centennial Challenge is unprecedented in the history of our organization," said National Park Service director Mary Bomar. "We are hopeful that Congress will seize this opportunity to be part of an historic moment."
The Fiscal Year 2009 budget request for the Interior Department also includes:
• $1 billion for the Bureau of Land Management.
• A decrease of $1 million to the Central Utah Project, a system of dams and aqueducts designed to bring water from the Uinta Basin to the Wasatch Front. President Bush requested $42 million for the project, which is about $1 million less than Congress enacted for 2008.
"The decrease is not expected to adversely affect timely completion of the project," according to the budget.• A $195 million request for payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) about $5 million more than the 2008 request, but about $34 million less than what Congress enacted, according to the department. PILT pays local governments for federal land located within the counties on which counties cannot collect taxes.