Issue Brief: Reviving American Scenic Byways Act


ASLA supports the National Scenic Byways Program as a means to recognize, protect, and promote selected roads throughout the United States. Landscape architects, as stewards and designers of the natural and built environment, have identified the program as critical to the profession.


The National Scenic Byways Program was established by Congress under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in 1991, and strengthened with the passage of subsequent surface transportation bills.

The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve, and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation designates certain roadways as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. In addition to establishing a designation, TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU increased funds for National Scenic Byways projects, which are rewarded through grants distributed by FHWA. As of 2012, there are 150 nationally designated byways in 46 states, consisting of 208 National Scenic Byways and 42 All-American Roads.

The last round of designations occurred in 2009, and Congress officially pulled support for the program in transportation legislation passed in 2012.

Bill Summary

On January 29, 2019, Representative David Cicilline (RI) introduced H.R. 831, the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and on February 6, 2019, Senator Susan Collins (ME) introduced S. 349 as the companion bill. This legislation reauthorizes the National Scenic Byways Program.

The Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019 directs the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to request nominations for roads to be designated under the National Scenic Byways Program. The secretary is also responsible for determining which roads receive certain designations.

Recent Action

On September 22, 2019, The Reviving America's Scenic Byways Act was signed into law. It is now Public Law 116-57.


H.R. 831, Representative David Cicilline (RI) and cosponsors.

S. 349, Senator Susan Collins (ME) and cosponsors.  


Roxanne Blackwell, 
Esq., Hon. ASLA,
Director of Federal
Government Affairs

Elizabeth Hebron,
Director of State
Government Affairs