Bill would eliminate National Scenic Byways program

A transportation bill proposed by U.S. House committee chairman would eliminate the National Scenic Byways program, according to an email from an official with the Route 66 Association of New Mexico.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday that would repeal the byways program, according to an email from Vickie Ashcraft of the association.

Sure enough, the American Energy and Infrastructure Act of 2012 contains this text on Page 201:

8 162, and the item relating to that section in the analysis
9 for chapter 1, are repealed.

Six of the eight Route 66 states have attained Byway or All-American Road status for Route 66. The program has given out thousands of dollars in grants to help Route 66 tourism over the years.

Supporters of the Byways programs are urged to contact the committee and ask the panel to eliminate the program’s repeal language. One letter to the committee was forwarded to me; you can use part of this excerpt if you wish:

With a national effort to  implement new efforts to attract international visitors and create jobs, we cannot put at risk a proven tool like the system of 150 All-American Roads and National Scenic Byways. […]

The Illinois River Road National  Scenic Byway, as well as the other federally designated roadways across the U.S., have been an integral part in developing and strengthening the economies of our country’s rural and metropolitan communities.

Byways are extremely important today as an international tourism marketing tool and will become even more important with the advent of the Corporation for Travel Promotion/Brand USA efforts to regain our lost share of international travel and create jobs.  Claims of international significance for our byways are indeed substantiated.  The new organization set up to market the US to international visitors, Brand USA, has a chart showing its  marketing plan.  One of the four experience pillars Brand USA is targeting is the Great Outdoors –  and Byways are prominently listed along with National Parks.  In fact to a considerable extent, Byways   fit into all four pillars.  We have $200 million available to attract visitors and create jobs through this initiative – Abolishment of  the proven and successful National Scenic Byways Program would take away one of the prime marketing assets for countless communities and regions.

Abolishing the National Scenic Byway Program would be devastating to our Byway, our state and th entire country.  Our Byways have done incredible work and made great strides to impact tourism, economic development and transportation under the National Scenic Byway Program.  Byways across the country have leveraged the National Scenic Byway Program designation to obtain funds from other federal, state and local funding resources to make a significant impact on American transportation, our visitor-based economy, on community livability and protection of our natural resources – just to name a few.

It might also be a good idea to refer to the recently released Route 66 Economic Impact Report when writing the committee. It makes a very good case on why historic preservation is a very efficient cog in the U.S. economy.

UPDATE: The National Scenic Byways Foundation has instructions on who to write and how on its home page.

10 thoughts on “Bill would eliminate National Scenic Byways program

  1. Many of the committee members have Facebook and Twitter pages. Use the power of Social Media to reach them as well as the traditional methods.

  2. Don’t leave Rep. John Duncan (R, Ten) out of this. Looks like he’s a cosponsor of this bill.

    And I’m interested to know what section 162 states or where I can read it. Trying to sift through the text of these bills and gather their meaning makes my head hurt.

  3. This link provides a pdf with what I believe is all of the pertinent pieces of legislation covering the National Scenic Byway Program.

  4. Please do as other sites to expedite our letters going to the proper people, easily and quickly, by setting up a site which sends an email message with pertinent wording, please?

  5. I’m not saying anyone’s jumping the gun here, but I’ve started reading all of it today, and that’s an aweful small blurb – can you please try to find: (k) National Scenic Byways Program. – Section 162, and the item relating to that section in the analysis for chapter 1, are repealed. So we can more fully understand. Reading this stuff is worse than old stereo instructions!

    It’s obviously very confusing government language, as it’s meant to be, so us ordinary citizens will never understand it. With that section in mind, is there wording elsewhere that actually clarifies the purpose of eliminating the National Scenic Byways Program???

      1. Got it, thanks, it’s still a little cloudy, but my assumption is that “and the item relating to that section in the analysis for chapter 1” means FUNDING?

        Why in the world, when still deep in a long term recession, anyone in government no matter the party, would want to eliminate maintaining and preserving roads that actually generate major tourism related revenues, especially from outside sources that don’t add a burden to the system, is just plain insanity!

        Of course click and see the list of committee members, and the insanity becomes much clearer anyway – there’s something like 60 committee members, one party leader has been in congress for more than 20 years (R), and the other for more than 34 (D)!!! Term Limitations, that’s what we really need…

      2. I disagree that term limits would solve this. All you’d do is replace one ignoramus with another ignoramus. Oklahoma’s government has had term limits for years, and it sure hasn’t stopped it from drafting damned-fool legislation.

        Instead, the legislators need to be informed what government programs are valuable and/or low-cost.

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