In Cincinnati, Portman Participates in Second Annual Taft Day

Portman’s Restore Our Parks Act Would Help Address the Backlog of Maintenance Needs at the Taft National Historic Site

September 13, 2019

CINCINNATI, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) participated in the Second Annual Taft Day breakfast celebrating the birthday of President William Howard Taft, the only U.S. president born and raised in Cincinnati. Portman participated in this program last year. The breakfast celebration was held at the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, which includes the two-story house where William Howard Taft was born and grew up. The site, including the house, surrounding landscape, and education center, has $2.1 million in long-delayed maintenance needs, and Portman has introduced legislation to help address this backlog.

“Today I was honored to participate in the Second Annual Taft Day. President Taft holds a special place in my heart, as the only U.S. president born and raised in Cincinnati, and William Howard Taft National Historic Site provides unique insights for visitors to understand the environment that shaped this historic Cincinnatian,” said Portman. “I’m committed to protecting our national parks and that’s why I introduced the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act to help address the nearly $12 billion backlog of long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service. This includes more than $100 million in deferred maintenance at Ohio’s eight national parks, and $2.1 million here at the Taft National Historic Site. These parks are national treasures and we must do our part to ensure that these parks can be enjoyed for many generations to come.” 

Last year, Senator Portman introduced the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation that would help address the nearly $12 billion backlog in long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service (NPS). The bill, which has been praised by key stakeholders, would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” from existing unobligated revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development to fund deferred maintenance projects at NPS sites across the country.  Notably, the measure would help tackle the more than $100 million maintenance backlog at Ohio’s eight national park sites.  Specifically, the William Howard Taft National Historical Site has $2.1 million in unmet maintenance needs such as building renovations and infrastructure improvements. 

Portman, a lifelong outdoorsman and a frequent visitor to Ohio’s national parks, has long been a leader in the U.S. Senate in efforts to protect our national parks. He is the author of the National Park Service Centennial Act, legislation signed into law in 2016 that authorizes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund and the Second Century Endowment Fund, two public-private partnerships that are providing additional funding to help preserve our national parks for generations to come.  Last year, Portman received the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Champion Award for his work on the National Park Service Centennial Act. He has previously received the 2012 NPCA Centennial Award, the 2015 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award, and the 2016 National Parks Service Centennial Champion Award from Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Photos from the event are below: