On July 21, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a six-bill appropriations minibus package which includes $30 million in funding for the National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP). Scenic America applauds the House’s inclusion of funding for this critical program, which brings economic benefits to communities located along the more than 1,200 designated routes across all 50 states.
This vital funding continues to support the NSBP through the appropriations cycle after a nearly ten-year lapse in dedicated program funding. The House’s $30 million investment represents a significant increase in funding over 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 and led a letter, signed by 51 of his fellow Members of Congress, urging the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee to fund these important roadways.
Scenic America also galvanized its national audience to take action on this issue to support Rep. Cicilline and the other Members of Congress. Through this effort, more than 1,200 supporters contacted their representatives to voice their support for byways funding in the FY23 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 to the 51 Members who demonstrated their clear support for the program in their letter. We applaud House THUD Subcommittee Chair David 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 FY23 bill to ensure the funding remains.
“It is critical that we maintain vigilance throughout the Congressional process until the FY 23 bill is completed and signed into law. We look forward to seeing similar support in the Senate, which has provided long-standing support to the program as well,” 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. According to the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway generated $1.1 billion in economic output and supported 15,500 jobs in North Carolina and Virginia in 2020 alone. During the same year, the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway brought $159 million to communities across Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, supporting 1,850 jobs.