Advocate for Stronger Scenic Policies
Scenic Texas and our chapters all over the state work closely with the Texas Legislature, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and local community government to advocate for thoughtfully designed and landscaped highways, funding for landscaping and tree plantings, protection from new billboard construction, and the enforcement of existing laws. Through effective advocacy at the state and city level Scenic Texas makes real change by amplifying the voices of our local chapters and Texas communities.
Scenic Texas works to provide information to the public, educate our members and stakeholders, and advocate at the Capitol concerning issues that impact the scenic beauty of Texas. These issues include legislation to protect the dark sky from unnecessary light pollution, regulation of billboards, funding for the Green Ribbon Program, the designation of scenic highways, and supporting local control of city ordinances related to beautification.
State Scenic Byway Program
HB 1908 and SB 941 are important for our state and economic recovery. These are companion bills that will establish a State Scenic Byways Program. We are the only state in the nation that does not have this program and the only government mandate associated with a scenic byway designation is no more new billboards. This program will provide recognition to what our organization has understood all along — scenic drives are beautiful, and deserve to be preserved and acknowledged. These scenic drives are not only good for mental health and environmental impact, but drive economic development and tourism, especially to adjacent communities. You can learn more about why we should have a State Scenic Byways Program in the op-ed by our President and Executive Director Sarah Tober in the Big Bend Gazette.
A State Scenic Byways Program, makes local communities eligible to receive federal funding if they take the initiative to apply for it through TxDOT. In conjunction with the creation of the program, Scenic Texas is proposing to designate the approximately 30 highways in Transportation Code, Sec. 391.252 as part of the program. These highways are already statutorily protected from billboards and, therefore, already eligible to apply for federal funding once designated and if they choose to do so. For more information on the Federal Byways Program visit our affiliate Scenic America’s page here.