The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation, today announced 38 grants to State and Tribal applicants to support the National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP).
These are the first NSBP grants to be awarded since 2012. Grants will begin to roll out to grantees over the next week.
“FHWA is proud to award these grants that will help make travel safer, provide more enjoyable access, and support local businesses along scenic byways across the country,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt.
The grants, which total $21.8 million, were awarded to programs in 29 states. According to the FHWA, these grants “recognize outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural resources and archaeological sites,” and will be used to improve facilities, safety, and accessibility to these programs.
“This is a huge opportunity for these programs to receive federal funding,” said Scenic America President Mark Falzone. “The National Scenic Byways Program is such an important driver of the preservation of our country’s scenic beauty, not to mention the economies of the communities in which these programs are founded. We’re thrilled to see this announcement and are ready to support these programs in any way.”
These grants, awarded under the NSBP, will be given to 28 State DOT programs and 5 Tribal projects across 29 different states. Funding amounts range from $96,000 to over $3.4 million. The full list of grant programs can be found on the FHWA website.
The NSBP was established in 1991 by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and has since been administered by the FHWA, and is a voluntary, community-based program designed to recognize, protect, and promote America’s most outstanding roads. The program is not focused solely on the promotion of roads, but also helps communities balance economic development and resource conservation.
“This announcement should also serve as a reminder of the popularity and importance of the National Scenic Byways Program,” stated Falzone. “As Congress moves towards an appropriations bill for FY24, we hope that they see the impact of these byways programs and continue providing this needed funding.”
Scenic America led an advocacy effort to revitalize the program, which culminated in the passage of the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019 and has since secured $42 million in funding for the program through the FY 21, 22, and 23 appropriations acts. New designations were announced in February 2021 for the first time since 2009. Scenic America continues to advocate for the program’s long-term funding and a regular designation process.