WASHINGTON — Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works unanimously passed the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act, legislation authored by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to protect and promote America’s scenic roadways. The bill now awaits full consideration by the full Senate.
Senators Cardin and Collins’ and legislation, which was introduced in February, would restart the dormant designation process for the National Scenic Byways Program, a voluntary, community-based Federal Highway Administration program to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. The roads are recognized based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.
“Maryland’s scenic byways are historic, recreational and educational treasures. Reviving this grassroots program will be beneficial to future development and maintenance of these important routes,” said Senator Cardin. “Millions of visitors traverse our great roads each year to take in Maryland’s natural beauty and rich history. 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.”
“I am proud that Maine boasts not only three National Scenic Byways, but also the Acadia All-American Road. These roadways provide Mainers and tourists alike with spectacular views and memorable experiences, while at the same time spurring much-needed economic activity in the surrounding areas,” said Senator Collins. “The National Scenic Byways program represents a true win-win scenario by protecting precious corridors and providing tangible benefits for local communities. I am pleased to see that our bipartisan bill is now one step closer to becoming law.”
“We are excited about the support in EPW today for the National Scenic Byways Program,” said Mark Falzone, president of Scenic America. “We are grateful to Senators Collins and Cardin for their leadership on this important issue. The program is a proven winner: it protects our most iconic roadways and benefits the communities they traverse with increased visitation and spending on local goods and services.”
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.