A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has introduced legislation to reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) for 10 years and increase its authorized amount by $100 million per year.

H.R. 3350 was introduced this week by Reps. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the co-chairs of the Historic Preservation Caucus, along with Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) and Mike Carey (R-OH). The bill renews the HPF until 2033 and raises the amount of funding authorized to be deposited into the Fund from Outer Continental Shelf royalties from $150 million per year to $250 million.

Since its establishment in the 1970s, the HPF has supported the rescue and rehabilitation of historic sites, revitalized communities, and created opportunities for economic growth. It helps the National Park Service administer heritage programs such as the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic Tax Credit Program. It also partially supports State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (S/THPOs), which are tasked with the inventory of America’s historic resources and facilitating Section 106 reviews of federally supported projects.

Demand for HPF funds is constantly on the rise as SHPO responsibilities have increased, new THPO offices are established, and competitive grant programs are created and expanded. Yet the Fund’s annual authorization of $150 million has remained the same since the 1970s.  With passage of a major infrastructure bill in 2021 meaning more projects in the pipeline, a lack of adequate funding for the HPF will make it difficult for preservation offices to support management of our cultural resources, heritage preservation, and community development.

ACRA and its allies in the preservation community have been advocating for legislation to extend the HPF, whose authority expires at the end of September, and for an increase in its funding level. With Congress divided between a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled Senate, the introduction of a bipartisan bill is a hopeful sign that Capitol Hill will work this year to extend and strengthen the Fund.