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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Administrative Criteria

The law provides a general framework for the Secretary in making grants to States and Indian tribes. The Secretary also has the discretion to use additional administrative criteria. The following criteria are used in the consideration of projects for funding under the National Scenic Byways Program:

  1. Livability: The U. S. Department of Transportation has made livable communities a high priority. Livable communities improve the quality of life in urban, suburban, and rural communities by promoting principles and projects that integrate land use, transportation, housing, and conservation of open green space and natural resources. In support of these larger efforts, 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 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. The proposed amount of National Scenic Byways Program funds should be proportionate to the proposed project's benefits to byway travelers. We expect an applicant advancing a project benefiting the general public to propose a larger share of non-byways funds.

  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. Critical needs include activities to build and strengthen a sustainable organization, to manage byway activities, and to implement projects or other initiatives.

  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. Obligating funds is the first step in ensuring the timely use of byways funds and fulfilling the Funding Expenditures criteria.

  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 discretionary programs, the FHWA will also give consideration to providing an equitable and geographic distribution of funds.

Note: For information on FHWA discretionary programs, visit

Updated: 1/31/2017
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