Thanks to Scenic America’s advocacy work, Congress included $20 million in funding for the National Scenic Byways Program in the final text of its FY 23 appropriations bill, which was just passed by Congress today, December 23, 2022, and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden soon.
Scenic America is deeply grateful to our Coalition partners, byways organizations, and supporters across the country who took action and amplified our advocacy efforts, and we applaud our champions in Congress who led the fight for this critical funding. Thanks to their leadership, the program will benefit the thousands of communities across the country along scenic byways routes by encouraging travel, tourism, and other economic development activities.
In another win for byways, the legislation also calls for a more equitable grant application process for byways organizations by removing a provision stating a preference for projects of $500,000 or more, which created a disadvantage for smaller organizations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is currently in the process of making $22 million in funding from FY21 and FY22 available through a grant process, the first since 2012, and this new provision will take effect for the funds provided in FY23.
This funding announcement represents a big victory for byways advocates in a very challenging budget environment.
“We extend our thanks to Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who has been a stalwart supporter and proponent for the program during his time in Congress, as well as the 51 other Members who signed onto a letter he led advocating for funding for the program in FY23. Additionally, we thank Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Susan Collins (R-ME) as well as Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Kay Granger (R-TX), David Price (D-NC), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) for their steadfast support of this program, ensuring that byways funding was included in the final bill,” said Scenic America President Mark Falzone.
“While today’s announcement represents a significant win, we know that we face a challenging road ahead as we fight for robust, long-term funding for scenic byways. We’re proud to lead that charge.”