WASHINGTON – In a bipartisan effort to protect and promote America’s scenic roadways, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act.
Senators Cardin’s and Collins’ legislation 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 is home to 18 designated byways, and the reopening of this program will be beneficial to future development and maintenance of these important routes,” said Senator Cardin. “This program helps direct visitors to areas of interest along our Scenic Byways, and generates 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.”
“We are thrilled with Senator Collins and Cardin’s support for scenic byways,” said Mark Falzone, president of Scenic America. “The National Scenic Byways Program is a proven winner: it protects places with historic, scenic and cultural significance and contributes to local economies by promoting them as destinations.”
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. A 2010 report from the University of Minnesota showed a $21.6 million economic impact from traveler spending along both the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway and nearby Lake Country Scenic Byway. A 2013 study of Scenic Byway 12 in Utah found that the byway generated nearly $13 million annually in local spending.