Support SB 941 by Buckingham / HB 1908 by E. Morales
Creating a State Scenic Byway Program
Texas WAS the ONLY state in the nation that didn’t have a Scenic Byway Program. Thanks to Scenic Texas and all of you, our supporters, we are now officially in the Scenic Byway program.
Find out more about how we managed to pass our bill and help preserve our landscapes and nature, while supporting local communities and businesses.
The House Bill 1908 was focused on two major points:
- Creating a State Scenic Byway Program under TxDOT which would allow for local communities to apply for and receive federal grants if qualified; and
- Designation of 30 already statutorily protected roadways from the construction of new billboards. These roadways automatically qualify to be a part of the state scenic byway program.
The purpose of this legislation was to (1) increase tourism along Texas roadways; and (2) preserve the state’s most scenically, culturally, or historically significant roadways and adjacent communities.
- This bill does not create any new stretches of roadways that cannot have billboards.
- Designating a stretch of road as a ‘Scenic Byway’ does not create a burden for the local communities. Designation as a ‘Scenic Byway’ is just that, a designation. The pursuit of federal funding as a Scenic Byway must be a community-led effort, requiring local buy-in and would do so by applying through TxDOT.
Some of the most common uses of scenic byway funds are used for tourism purposes like a welcome center or beautification efforts.
Scenic Byways bring significant economic benefit to local communities and are a critical part of America’s travel and tourism industry, which generated $2.9 trillion in economic impact in 2019, according to the U.S. Travel Association. For example, the Blue Ridge Parkway generated $1.4 billion in economic output and supported 16,300 jobs in North Carolina and Virginia in 2019, according to the National Park Service. During the same year, the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway brought $13.1 million in economic output to Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, supporting 161 jobs.