National Mall

National Mall

National Mall languishing as funds go back to states

August 4, 2009, 11:11 am
Crumbling sidewalks near the Jefferson Memorial are sinking into the Tidal Basin. Reflecting pools are filled with green, smelly water. And millions of visitors have trampled the soil into virtual concrete where grass can't grow.

The National Mall is in danger of becoming a national disgrace.

"It does not deserve the name National Mall," said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's nonvoting member of Congress. "We ought to call it something else until it looks decent."

The Obama administration recently steered $55 million in stimulus money toward repairs, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that was only a down payment on the nearly $400 million needed to fix up a national park that draws more visitors than Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite combined.

An Associated Press analysis of congressional spending since 2005 found that the mall has been at a disadvantage in competing for extra funds doled out by lawmakers, compared with sites represented by powerful members of Congress. The mall is in Washington, which has no vote in the House or Senate.