Collins’ bill restarting National Scenic Byways Program becomes law

The president on Sept. 22 signed into law a bipartisan, bicameral bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to restart the dormant designation process for the federally administered National Scenic Byways Program.

“The National Scenic Byways Program represents a true win-win by protecting precious corridors and providing tangible benefits for local communities,” Sen. Collins said. “I am glad that our legislation, which received overwhelming, bipartisan support, has been signed into law.”

The Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019, H.R. 831/S. 349, requires the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to request nominations for, and make determinations regarding, roads to be designated under the voluntary, community-based program.

Sen. Collins introduced her chamber’s version of the bill in February with cosponsor U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), while U.S. Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA) and David Cicilline (D-RI) in January introduced the U.S. House bill.

Administered through the Federal Highway Administration, the program recognizes, protects and promotes America’s most outstanding roads based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities.

Since its inception in 1991, the National Scenic Byways Program has recognized 150 roads around the country, however, the last round of designations occurred 10 years ago.

“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,” said Sen. Collins. “These roadways also spur much-needed economic activity throughout our state.”