President Signs National Scenic Byways Bill Into Law

Scenic America is thrilled to announce that President Trump has signed into law the “Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019.”

The new law requires the Secretary of Transportation to start the application process for new byways within 90 days and to designate a round of new National Scenic Byways within one year. The Federal Highway Administration is tasked with developing procedures for the nomination process and publishing the process on its website within the 90 day window.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously in September and by a 404-19 margin in the House of Representatives earlier this year. It has been ten years since a new National Scenic Byway was designated, so the bill’s signing marks a new dawn for current and prospective scenic byways.

Scenic America is very appreciative of the efforts of House bill sponsors: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), and co-sponsors: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) and Senate bill sponsors: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and co-sponsors: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), for their visionary leadership in ensuring that local communities all across the country will benefit from the revival of the National Scenic Byways Program.

Acadia Road

Acadia All-American Road, a National Scenic Byway in Acadia National Park, Maine

It’s exciting to think about how more American cities and towns will be able to leverage the scenic roadways that wind through our breathtakingly gorgeous mountains and prairies, river valleys and coasts, to help their local economies thrive.

Since the program started in 1991, Congress has designated 150 iconic roads in 47 states as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads. That list includes the celebrated Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina and the Route 1 – Big Sur Coast Highway in California.

It is well established that scenic byways are engines of economic growth and tourism for communities around the U.S. A 2010 University of Minnesota report found the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway and nearby Lake County Scenic Byway generated $21.6 million in economic benefits for rural northern Minnesota communities. Similarly, Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 earned $13 million in local spending, according to a 2013 study.

Statements from allied organizations:

“Years of effort from lawmakers and coalition members has finally paid off as the president signed the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act into law. This is a victory for all of us who have made it our profession to be stewards of the land. The American Society of Landscape Architects has been advocating for this legislation since the beginning, and we’re glad to see it finally become law. ASLA appreciates the president signing this measure into law and applauds the bill’s sponsors Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Garret Graves (R-LA) in the House of Representatives and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) in the Senate, for their dedication to seeing this through.”

Shawn T. Kelly, FASLA
President of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)

“The RV Industry Association is proud to have supported the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act. RVers regularly drive down National Scenic Byways, like Historic Route 66, Skyline Drive, or the Blue Ridge Parkway. We applaud Congress and the President for reopening the National Scenic Byways Program and ensuring that millions of Americans will continue to be able to experience the magic of the open road.”

Jay Landers, Vice President of Government Affairs
RV Industry Association

“The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association applauds the bi-partisan leadership who have voted to reinstate the National Scenic Byways Program nominations process. This important program has proven to bring new tourism dollars to Scenic Byways-designated routes, helping strengthen economies, especially those in rural communities. So many of these roadways help share the story of Native American cultures along the way, and we look forward to the expansion of these stories.”

Sherry L. Rupert
Executive Director
American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association

“As part of the coalition that helped create the National Scenic Byways Program in 1991, the American Motorcyclist Association is excited that the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act has been signed into law by President Trump. The National Scenic Byways Program has preserved and enhanced many motorcyclists’ favorite roads like the Blue Ridge Parkway, stretching from North Carolina to Virginia, and the Beartooth Highway between Montana and Wyoming. The AMA thanks Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), and co-sponsors: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) and Senate bill sponsors: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and co-sponsors: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) for championing this important legislation.”

American Motorcyclist Association