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

Wednesday, June 2, 2004
Contact: Lori Irving, 202-366-0660
FHWA 7-04e

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces $125,000 for Illinois' Scenic Byway Program

Grants Will Support Illinois' Small Communities, Promote Tourism

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced that Illinois will receive $125,000 in grants for projects that are part of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Scenic Byways Program.

"The only way to visit many of our nation's treasures is to travel on a scenic byway," said Mineta. "Investing in these roads is the best way to bring travel and tourism dollars to many of Illinois' small towns."

The grants will support improvements and planning for the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route, Great River Road, Ohio River Scenic Byway, Historic National Road and the Lincoln Highway.

"Our nation's scenic byways provide a vital link between countless travelers and Illinois' small towns and rural areas, supporting hundreds of mom and pop shops along the way," said FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters. "The Bush administration is proud to help local communities support, improve and promote these important resources."

Currently, 96 roads in 39 states have been named by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of America's Byways. Studies suggest that byway designations increase the number of visitors to rural communities by up to 20 percent, resulting in billions more dollars and tens-of-thousand of jobs nationwide. Those same studies have found that the typical byway visitor spends between $100 and $200 per trip. Since 1992, the National Scenic Byways Program has provided $219 million for 1,595 projects in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The National Scenic Byway Program recognizes roadways around the nation based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational or scenic qualities. The funding announced today will assist the grassroots efforts of communities along the byways to preserve, protect, interpret and promote the qualities of the designated road.

More information about the National Scenic Byways Program is available online at www.byways.org or by calling toll-free, 1-800-4-BYWAYS (1-800-429-9297)


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