WASHINGTON – Following passage in the Senate Monday night, legislation authored by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to protect and promote America’s scenic roadways is headed to the White House to be signed into law.
The Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019 (S. 349), which was introduced in February and was approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) in June, would restart the dormant designation process for the National Scenic Byways Program. A voluntary, community-based Federal Highway Administration program preserving and enhancing selected roads throughout the United States. The roads in Maryland, Maine and across the country are recognized based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.
“This is a win for our local communities, local tourism, local economies and the environment. Maryland’s scenic byways are historic, recreational and educational treasures and millions of visitors traverse our great roads each year to take in Maryland’s natural beauty and rich history,” said Senator Cardin. “I appreciate the strong, bipartisan support for this national program that will help direct visitors to areas of interest along America’s Byways, preserve our cultural heritage and generate revenue for the surrounding communities. Reviving this grassroots program will be beneficial to future development and maintenance of these important routes.”
“Maine’s three National Scenic Byways, as well as the Acadia All-American Road, provide Mainers and tourists alike with spectacular views and memorable experiences. These roadways also spur much-needed economic activity throughout our state,” said Senator Collins. “The National Scenic Byways program represents a true win-win by protecting precious corridors and providing tangible benefits for local communities. I am glad that our legislation was approved by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support.”
Since its inception in 1991, the National Scenic Byways Program has officially recognized 150 roads around the country, but the last round of designations occurred ten years ago.
National Scenic Byways have been shown to generate significant economic activity for nearby communities, many of which are small and rural in nature.