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                 March 23, 2012 
Legislative Update

Byways support in Washington and around the country remains strong.  When the Senate took action on its new surface transportation program last week, it included an expansion of authority for byways investments using Transportation Mobility Program funds.  Thanks to the efforts of US Senator Olympia Snowe, Transportation Mobility Program state funds would also be eligible for use to support byways "program and technical assistance" efforts.  This change was made with the support of the EPW leadership, as demonstrated by its incorporation into the first manager's package of amendments to MAP 21 (Senate Bill).

 

Although it appears we are likely to see a 90-day extension of SAFETEA-LU 2005 (Surface Transportation Authorization Law), we are succeeding in making the National Scenic Byways Program more visible and paving the way for inclusion of the Byways Program when a new Transportation Bill is debated and discussed.

 

What can you do?  Continue to keep the program visible!  Relay your byway success stories to the media and to legislators.  Keep the conversation about the importance of this program going, as it will be important in the months ahead.

Stakeholder Meetings

The National Scenic Byway Foundation is engaged in discussions with more than 20 national byway stakeholder organizations about the future of the National Scenic Byway Program - its designations, grants, technical assistance and marketing partnerships.   These organizations are looking at how we might, together, respond to current challenges with innovative thinking - to turn 2012 into a segue to a different and even better National Scenic Byways Program.  Just as creative thinking during the late 1980's and early 1990's shaped the program of today, so can our thinking develop a new chapter for America's byways that will introduce a new chapter of growth and progress for byways.

 

As one measure for securing a placeholder for more contact with U.S. tourism interests in the future, the consortium will underscore the value of byways to domestic and international tourism in communication to the White House Task Force on Travel.  The group will continue discussions and planning over the next two months to present a plan to USDOT for transition and support of the program.

 

The closing of the America's Byways Resource Center marks a significant change for the Byways Program, but we are encouraged by the support from these organizations, some legislators and FHWA, and are eager to begin writing the next chapter of the National Scenic Byway Program.

 

Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award
On March 17, 2012, the National Scenic Byway Foundation posthumously awarded its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award to the family of the late Teresa Mitchell, for Teresa's outstanding contributions to the National Scenic Byway Program, her vision for the National Scenic Byway Foundation, and the establishment of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. The award presentation was made at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail War of 1812 Bicentennial Quilt Show in Sacketts Harbor, NY. 

 

NSB Foundation Co-Executive Director, Deb Divine, traveled to New York to present the inaugural award. Divine said, "The National Scenic Byway Foundation is honoring Teresa Mitchell for her lifetime as a strong advocate, dedicated leader and great friend of the entire National Byway community. She freely shared her knowledge and vast experience. Teresa exemplified the spirit of the early explorers of the beautiful Great Lakes Seaway Trail region with her 'can do' attitude and willingness to explore new ways to help America's Byways be the best they can be at showcasing the beauty, culture and history of our unique places."

 

Teresa served as the President and CEO of Seaway Trail, Inc. from its inception in 1986 to January 2012. Teresa was among the leaders of byways across the U.S. who founded the National Scenic Byway Foundation in 2003 and served as Chair from 2005-2011.

 
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the mission of the national scenic byway foundation is to foster cooperative opportunities that will grow and sustain byways for future generations. the vision of the foundation is that byways will be recognized and valued worldwide for their distinctive experiences, stories and treasured places.
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