Congress Funds America’s Byways for Fourth Consecutive Year, Making a $7.5 Million Investment in the National Scenic Byways Program for FY24
March 12, 2024

For the fourth consecutive year, Scenic America and byways partners were successful in advocating for continued funding for the National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) at the federal level. The FY24 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, signed into law by President Biden on March 9, officially allocates $7.5 million for the NSBP for the 2024 fiscal year.

This critical funding will benefit the thousands of communities across the country along scenic byways routes by encouraging travel, tourism, and other economic development activities.

The funding was part of a six-bill “minibus” which passed both the House and Senate last week and was sent to the president for his signature over the weekend. The minibus comes after months of delays and failed spending bills, and when finally signed on Saturday, successfully funded the government through September 2024.

“We are very pleased to see Congress continue supporting the National Scenic Byways Program,” said Mark Falzone, Scenic America president. “While we were hoping for greater funding for the program, we understand that this was a tough budget year. We are grateful to see such an important program receive support from our government and will continue to advocate for greater funding in FY25, a process which we have already begun.”

Prior Congressional funding for the NSBP came in at $20 million for FY23, $6 million for FY22, and $16 million in FY21 to jumpstart the dormant program. This year’s funding brings the total amount allocated to the NSBP to just shy of $50 million, $22.8 million of which has already been distributed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in the form of byways grants.

“The next important step is to continue working with the FHWA to ensure that this money gets distributed regularly and that we see a regular byways designation process,” added Falzone. “This is necessary funding that helps keep the program alive, and we encourage the FHWA to continue investing in byways programs across the country to prove to Congress that it’s money well-spent.”

Scenic America would like to extend its gratitude to our Coalition partners, byways organizations, our supporters across the country for amplifying our voice through advocacy efforts, and our champions in Congress for ensuring continued support of America’s byways. Specifically, we would like to thank Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK- 4) and Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), and supportive members of the Senate and House appropriations THUD subcommittees.

The NSBP was established by Congress in 1991 under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) to recognize and protect historic, archaeological, recreational, natural, scenic, and culturally important roads, and to promote tourism and economic development. Congress strengthened the program further with the passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998 and subsequently with the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), in 2005.

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 nearly $50 million in funding for the program through the FY21-24 appropriations acts.

Scenic America continues to advocate for the program’s long-term funding and a regular designation process. As we gear up for advocacy for FY25, we must keep persistent pressure on Congress to fully fund the NSBP. Sign our petition to encourage a fully-funded byways program for FY25!

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