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2012 Discretionary Grant Programs



Statutory Reference

23 U.S.C. § 162

Program Summary

The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) recognizes roads having outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities. NSBP funding supports projects that manage and protect these intrinsic qualities, interpret these qualities for visitors, and improve visitor facilities along byways.

The NSBP provides funding to States and Indian tribes to implement projects on highways designated as National Scenic Byways; All-American Roads; America's Byways®; State scenic byways; or Indian tribe scenic byways; and to plan, design, and develop a State or Indian tribe scenic byway program.

Additional information on the NSBP can be found at http://www.bywaysonline.org/.


Funded by contract authority; funds are not transferable. Funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid highway obligation limitation. Funds are to be allocated by the Secretary of Transportation to States and Indian tribes.

Federal Share

The Federal share payable shall be 80%, except that, in the case of any scenic byway project along a public road that provides access to or within Federal or Indian land, a Federal land management agency may use funds authorized for use by the agency as the non-Federal share.

Eligible Use of Funds

The following are projects that are eligible for assistance under the NSBP:

  1. An activity related to the planning, design, or development of a State or Indian tribe scenic byway program.
  2. Development and implementation of a corridor management plan to maintain the scenic, historical, recreational, cultural, natural, and archaeological characteristics of a byway corridor while providing for accommodation of increased tourism and development of related amenities.
  3. Safety improvements to a State scenic byway, Indian tribe scenic byway, National Scenic Byway, All-American Road, or one of America's Byways to the extent that the improvements are necessary to accommodate increased traffic and changes in the types of vehicles using the highway as a result of the designation as a State scenic byway, Indian tribe scenic byway, National Scenic Byway, All-American Road, or one of America's Byways.
  4. Construction along a scenic byway of a facility for pedestrians and bicyclists, rest area, turnout, highway shoulder improvement, overlook, or interpretive facility.
  5. An improvement to a scenic byway that will enhance access to an area for the purpose of recreation, including water-related recreation.
  6. Protection of scenic, historical, recreational, cultural, natural, and archaeological resources in an area adjacent to a scenic byway.
  7. Development and provision of tourist information to the public, including interpretive information about a scenic byway.
  8. Development and implementation of a scenic byway marketing program.

Statutory Priority Consideration

The Secretary will give priority consideration:

Project Selection Criteria

FHWA has not established regulatory criteria for the selection of NSBP projects; however, FHWA will use the following criteria in evaluating candidates for this program:

  1. Livability: We will give priority to eligible projects that can demonstrate a value-added livability component in addition to its relationship to the byway and the byway traveler.

  2. Greatest Strategic Benefits: Funding will be targeted toward projects that provide the greatest long-term strategic benefits. We are particularly focusing on projects with demonstrated benefits for the byway traveler and invite the application of large-scale, high-cost planning, safety, and infrastructure improvements to roadway facilities.

  3. State, Indian Tribe and Byway Priorities: The priority ranking of projects is a key factor in selecting projects for funding.

  4. Project Benefits: A project should benefit the byway traveler, whether it will help manage the intrinsic qualities that support the byway's designation, shape the byway's story, interpret the story for visitors, or improve visitor facilities along the byway.

  5. Projects Meeting Critical Needs: We encourage States and Indian tribes to give priority consideration to projects meeting critical needs on National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads relative to needs on State or Indian tribe scenic byways.

  6. Funding Expenditures: States, Indian tribes, and byways showing greater progress toward the completion of prior approved projects are considered better candidates for project selection.

  7. Ready to Implement: Projects that can be obligated and begin soon after authorization to proceed are given preference.

  8. Leveraging of Private or Other Public Funding: Commitment of other funding sources to complement requested byway funding to enable more projects to be funded.

Policy Considerations

Restoring economic health and creating jobs through improvements in transportation infrastructure are among the highest priorities of the FHWA. In furtherance of these priorities, the FHWA will give priority consideration to projects and activities that create new jobs in the short-term and contribute to the economic competitiveness of the United States over the long-term. Applications are encouraged to explain how their project will contribute to increased employment and enhance economic competitiveness.

In addition to a project's transportation and economic benefits, when allocating funds to carry out the FY 2012 discretionary programs, the FHWA will also give consideration to providing an equitable and geographic distribution of funds.

Submission Requirements

Applications are due from the State departments of transportation (State DOTs) and Indian Tribes to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) division offices by January 6, 2012. Further information to support development of project proposals can be found at http://www.bywaysonline.org/grants/.

All applications must be completed online at http://www.bywaysonline.org/grants/application/. Indian Tribes may submit applications through the State DOTs or directly to the FHWA division offices. All other applications must be submitted to the State DOTs for review and possible submission to the FHWA division offices. Applicants must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and an active Central Contractor Registration (CCR) that can be verified by the State coordinator or FHWA division offices in addition to submitting their application on www.bywaysonline.org.

Announcement of Awards/Allocation of Funds

Congress will be notified before funds are allocated to the States. When this Congressional notification process is completed, the Office of Program Administration will issue an announcement by email to all FHWA division offices, announcing the NSBP projects that will be funded and the amount of funding for each project.

States may then request that funds be allocated for any projects for which the funds are ready to be obligated. Awarded projects can be found at the website http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary. The State transportation agency shall send an email to the FHWA division office indicating the project, the amount requested for allocation, and the date by which the funds will be obligated. The Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty will issue the allocation memorandum within a few days of receiving the request. These funds are subject to August redistribution. Therefore, any allocated funds must be obligated by the end of the fiscal year.

FHWA Point of Contact

Gary Jensen
Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty
Phone: (202) 366-2048
Email: gary.jensen@dot.gov

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