Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY23 House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which includes $30 million in funding for the National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP). Scenic America celebrates the House’s inclusion of funding for this important program, which stands to deliver critical economic benefits to communities located along the more than 1,200 designated routes across all 50 states. The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote by the full chamber in the coming weeks.
This funding is critical to continue to support and provide dedicated funding to the NSBP through the appropriations cycle after a nearly ten-year lapse in dedicated program funding. The House’s proposed $30 million investment represents a significant increase in funding from the FY 21 and FY 22 levels of $16 million and $6 million, respectively.
Partnering with its allies in Congress and its growing network of byways supporters across the country, Scenic America has worked closely with Members of Congress and their staff to express the importance of funding for the NSBP. Long-time byways advocate Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) championed the effort in Congress, including recruiting 51 of his fellow House Members to sign on to a letter urging the THUD Subcommittee to fund these important roadways. To build on his leadership, Scenic America worked to galvanize its national audience to take action on this issue, with more than 1,200 supporters contacting their representatives to voice their support for byways funding in the House bill.
“We express our sincere thanks to Rep. Cicilline and the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee and the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee for their support for this program. Our nation’s scenic byways will get a much-needed funding boost in FY 23, bringing economic benefits to communities along the way” said Scenic America President Mark Falzone. “We are deeply grateful to Rep. Cicilline for his tireless support for our byways and the 51 Members who demonstrated their clear support for the program in their letter. We applaud House THUD Subcommittee Chair David E. Price (D-NC) and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) for advancing this program throughout the appropriations process. We also thank the House Appropriations Committee, under the leadership of Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), for their support.”
Scenic America will continue to work with the Senate as it focuses on its FY 23 bill to ensure funding.
“It is critical that we maintain our vigiliance through the Congressional process until the FY 23 transportation bill is completed and signed into law,” said Falzone.
Established in 1991, the NSBP recognizes roadways with notable scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities. The funding included in this bill will be available to more than 1,200 designated roadways throughout the country through a grant program administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As economic development generators, scenic byways play a key part in the national travel and tourism industry. For example, the Blue Ridge Parkway generated $1.1 billion in economic output and supported 15,500 jobs in North Carolina and Virginia in 2020, according to the National Park Service. During the same year, the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway brought $159 million in economic output to Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, supporting 1,850 jobs.