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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Contact: Lori Irving
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 44-00

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Celebrates National Scenic Byways Designation

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater today celebrated the designation of the Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway as part of the Federal Highway Administrations National Scenic Byway Program. The road was selected for designation because of its important historic qualities. This byway follows the historic routes that connected Colorados Cripple Creek Mining District, the most productive gold mining district in North America, with communities north and south.

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore have asked that our commitment to conservation grow as our communities grow," Slater said. "Designation as a National Scenic Byway helps preserve roads that have become American icons so that all can continue to benefit from their distinctive qualities and resources."

This stop celebrates Secretary Slaters six-state intermodal tour to highlight his ongoing series of 2025 visioning sessions with stakeholders across the country. These sessions will lay the groundwork for improving the quality of transportation choices and performance by clarifying a vision of transportations future over the next 25 years.

National Scenic Byways are exceptional roads through areas that exemplify regional characteristics. They possess distinctive cultural, historic, natural or other qualities unique among neighboring states. The Gold Belt Tour follows historic railroad and stagecoach routes leading visitors to North Americas greatest gold camp, three world class fossil sites, and numerous historic sites. The Gold Belt Tour was one of 30 roads in 20 states to be designated All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways by Secretary Slater last week .

Under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), approximately $25 million is available annually through the U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the scenic byways discretionary grant program. The funds may be used for planning as well as enhancing and promoting the byways. FHWA manages the program.

"National Scenic Byways define a unique American experience," FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "Travelers on these roads can look into the heart and soul of America and connect with the stories which have made America what it is today."

The National Scenic Byways Program was created to preserve and protect the nation's scenic byways and, at the same time promote tourism and economic development. Participation in the program is voluntary, and any public road or highway is eligible for designation and federal funding. The program emphasizes a coordinated effort among state, local and private entities in support of proposed eligible projects.

Information on the National Scenic Byways Program, including color photos and maps of roads, is available on the Internet at http://www.byways.org.

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