Scenic America recently took an important step forward in its ongoing effort to secure funding for the National Scenic Byways Program. The Senate Appropriations Committee included $35 million for scenic byways in its appropriations bill for Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (THUD), and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021. You can find the appropriation here, on page 33, lines 7-9. The bill was released November 10, 2020.
The National Scenic Byways Program recognizes roadways with notable scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities. Funds allocated to this program protect the unique characteristics of these roads and improve the visitor experience. Currently 150 roads hold this designation and more will be named before the end of 2020. The program was created in 1991 but has not been funded since 2012; this appropriations bill would represents the first dedicated funding for the program in nearly a decade.
This bill will go to a conference committee with the House THUD FY21 Appropriations bill. The current THUD appropriations continuing resolution expires on December 11, 2020, and Scenic America is hopeful that the matter will be resolved during the upcoming lame duck session. Because this money is for FY21, it would be available immediately, representing a huge win for scenic byways across the country, including state and tribal scenic byways.
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