National Scenic Byways Program funding is used for a wide variety of activities. This section reviews how those funds were spent by Statewide programs, for byway corridor projects, and on site-specific projects. Information is also presented on the number of projects and the amount of funds awarded throughout the nation, as well as the distribution of funding by the eight eligibility categories defined within Title 23 U.S.C. Section 162. Finally, concise reviews illustrate the ways in which typical projects were carried out on eight different byways.
The vast majority of nationally designated byways have sought and attained at least one byway grant during their tenure. In most cases, local byway groups have acquired a number of grants. Table 6 and Figure 5 aggregate all the nationally designated byways into groups based on their year of designation. Five designation rounds have occurred as of the date of this report. Under each designation grouping, Table 6 presents the average number of projects funded per nationally-designated byway during aggregations of three-year periods. The aggregated categories are 1 to 3 years, 4 to 6 years and 7 to 9 years after national designation.
|Projects by Years After National Designation|
|Years 1-3||Years 4-6||Years 7-9|
*Represents only one grant year (2006).
Table 6 shows that byways designated in 1996 received Program funding for 3.5 projects on average in the three years following designation (i.e., grant years 1997 through 1999). This increased to an average of 3.8 funded projects in the 4th through 6th year after designation (2000-2002), and to 4.5 projects during years 7 through 9 (2003-2005).
The 1998 designation round added to the collection byways that prepared significantly more projects on average in the early years after designation. During the first three years after designation (i.e., 1999-2001), an average of eight projects per byway were funded. That figure dropped to 5.1 projects during years 4 to 6 (2002-2004). For this designation round, year 7 after designation was 2006; therefore, the figure shown for years 7-9 (1.8) actually represents only one grant year and is thus not comparable to the corresponding figure for the 1996 designation round.
The same pattern appears to be occurring for byways that joined the collection in the 2000 designation round. The first three years after designation (grant years 2001-2003) averaged 9.2 funded projects per byway, dropping to 4.4 per byway in the next three years (2004-2006). The 2002 designation round also produced a high project per byway average in the first three years after designation.
The 1996 designated byways do not match this emerging trend. This may be largely due to the realities of establishing and accessing a new grant funding source. Local byway groups and States were learning a new application process, there were no "reference" or past applications to review for direction, and while the eligible categories for funding were established, the broader creative vision of the young byways had not fully considered the breadth of potential byway projects.
Figure 5 : Average Number of Projects Funded on Nationally-Designated Byways,
by Year of Designation and Number of Years Following Designation
This data suggests that most byways enter the collection with a clear list of high priority projects which they pursue and that national designation (and subsequent recognition by other organizations) may allow byways to more easily organize matching funds. Also, it may be that most byways pursue a higher number of lower-budget projects early in their existence to get the byway established, and then turn to higher-priced, more complicated and lengthier projects after a period of 5-6 years.