U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced grants totaling more than $15 million for 104 projects in 37 states that are part of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Scenic Byways Program.
"The only way to visit many of our nation's treasures is to travel on a scenic byway," said Mineta. "Investing in these roads is the best way to bring travel and tourism dollars to many of America's small towns."
The National Scenic Byway Program recognizes roadways around the nation based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational or scenic qualities. The grants will help fund such projects as scenic overlooks, visitor information centers, educational and promotional materials, pedestrian trails, bike paths and safety improvements.
"Our nation's scenic byways provide a vital link between countless travelers and America's small towns and rural areas, supporting hundreds of "mom and pop" shops along the way," said FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters. "The Bush administration is committed to helping local communities support, improve and promote these important resources."
Currently, the America's Byways system includes 96 roads in 39 states. Studies suggest that byway designations increase the number of visitors to rural communities by up to 20 percent, resulting in substantial numbers of jobs nationwide. Those same studies have found that the typical byway visitor spends between $100 and $200 per trip.
More information about the National Scenic Byways Program is available online at www.bywaysonline.org or by calling toll-free, 1-800-4-BYWAYS (1-800-429-9297).