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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Role of the Applicant

Completing and Submitting an Application for National Scenic Byways Program Funds

  1. Consult the byway's lead organization or lead individual to determine support for your project concept. Identify potential project sponsors.

  2. Consult the State or Indian tribe byway coordinator about eligibility questions and steps for submitting an application. For contacts, see

  3. Learn the key dates and unique criteria that your State or Tribal government uses to manage the byways grant program and administer byways funded projects. Some State and Indian tribe programs set application due dates that are earlier than those set by FHWA. Some programs also limit the amount of funding for which each applicant can apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact their State or Indian tribe byway coordinator for further information.

  4. Select the category for your proposed project. Read this document carefully, especially the "Principles and Practices" for the eight categories of eligible project activities.

  5. Prepare the project application. Pay close attention to the tips for "Complete Applications Include" at the end of each category of eligible project activities. Applications may be found ineligible based on a lack of information provided or insufficient information describing the relationship of the proposed project to the byway, the intrinsic qualities supporting designation, and the benefits to the byway traveler.

    Steps for submitting an application:

    • Make sure that your organization has a DUNS # and an active Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and that you supply this information to your State/Indian tribe coordinator with your application. Since there are a number of steps to this process, the time it takes to be confirmed may vary. It is suggested that you begin the registration process as soon as possible. If you are already registered with, please be advised that the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) portion of the registration process must be renewed once every 365 days to maintain an active status.

      Note: Registration with does not have to coincide with the solicitation of National Scenic Byways Program grant applications. There are a number of grant opportunities on the website, and with an active registration, you may apply for any open opportunities that match your organization's needs.

    • A signed paper copy must be submitted to your State or Indian tribe byway coordinator, who will then submit your application to the FHWA division office. Please note that we only require the submission of one (1) signed hard copy, but the requirements may vary depending on the guidelines established for submission of NSBP applications by your State or Indian tribe.

    • Provide sufficient detail for each project element to clearly support the budgeted cost. Bundling items together in a single line item does not typically work to your advantage. Be sure to provide enough detail for each project element to enable the reviewer to make both an eligibility and funding determination based on the specific budget element. The proposed budget should accurately reflect the individual project elements and final costs to complete the proposed project. Contingency costs are not eligible.

    • Assume that people reviewing your application are unfamiliar with the local area, byway and proposed project. Clearly, concisely, and completely summarize what will be accomplished, the relationship of the proposed project to the byway, how it supports the intrinsic qualities supporting the byway's designation and the benefits for byway travelers.

    • Compile supporting maps, plans or other documents in electronic format that can clearly be read. All supporting materials should be uploaded electronically in the application. Maps should be detailed and accurate, so that a State or Indian tribe byway coordinator or FHWA reviewer, using the map without additional information, can drive to the location and clearly identify the site of the proposed project (if possible, please provide the addresses/intersections and GPS coordinates for the proposed project(s) such that the project(s) can be located using basic mapping software).

    • Verify the requirements used in your State or within your Tribal government to administer selected projects and receive reimbursements. It is important to understand these requirements in anticipation of your project being selected for funding.

Implementing a Project with National Scenic Byways Program Funds

  1. National Scenic Byways Program funds are provided on a reimbursement basis.

  2. A project agreement must be signed and approved by the appropriate State, Tribal and/or Federal officials before costs for any work on the project will be reimbursed for eligible expenses. Costs incurred prior to a project agreement and authorization-to-proceed are not eligible for reimbursement.

  3. Verify the requirements in your State or within your Tribal government to administer selected projects and receive reimbursements. Talk with your State or Indian tribe byway coordinator to determine:

    • What environmental clearances are required for the project?
    • What are the requirements for acquiring land or a building?
    • What procedures do you need to follow before contracting with a firm to help implement some part of a project, design products, develop plans for construction and/or construct facilities?
  4. Identify a project manager who will work with byway leaders to accomplish each selected project.

  5. Administrative costs will need to be documented in order to be eligible for reimbursement. We caution applicants about using an estimate of these expenses based on a percentage of the total cost of the project. While this is true for all expenses, it is particularly important to keep in mind for project management or administrative costs which usually do not have a clear set of receipts associated with expenses that are incurred.

Updated: 9/3/2013
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