Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Scenic Byways Act of 1991 - Establishes in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) an Office of Scenic Byways to:
(1) maintain, and provide to States, information regarding Federal and State activities and programs for scenic byways;
(2) promote the existence and use of Federal and State assistance for scenic byways and all-American roads;
(3) establish and maintain an inventory of highways for designation as scenic byways and all-American roads; and
(4) carry out the planning, research, and technical assistance duties of the Department of Transportation (DOT) with respect to the national scenic byways program.
Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish in DOT an advisory committee to assist the Secretary with respect to the establishment of such a program.
Requires the committee to recommend, and the Secretary to establish, minimum criteria for designating highways as scenic byways and as all-American roads, including scenic beauty and historic significance considerations, operation and management standards, and standards for signs, safety, facilities, and landscaping.
Authorizes the Secretary, during FY 1992 and 1993, to make grants to any State which has a scenic highway program for carrying out eligible projects on highways which the Secretary considers highly likely to be designated as scenic byways and to any State which does not have such a program for the purpose of developing such a program.
Directs the Secretary to give priority to eligible projects:
(1) which are included in a corridor management plan for maintaining scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, and archeological characteristics of the corridor while providing for accommodation of increased tourism and development of related amenities;
(2) for which a strong local commitment is demonstrated;
(3) which are included in programs which can serve as models for other States; and
(4) in multi-State corridors where the States submit joint applications.
(1) the maximum Federal share payable for the costs of carrying out such projects and developing such programs shall be 75 percent; and
(2) approval by the Secretary of grant funds shall be deemed a contractual obligation of the United States for payment of the Federal share of the cost of the project or program (such provisions apply both to the interim program for FY 1992 and 1993 and to the program after September 30, 1993).
Makes specified sums available to the Secretary out of the Highway Trust Fund for such purposes.
Directs the Secretary to establish a national scenic byways program.
Requires the Secretary, after September 30, 1993, to make grants to States for purposes of:
(1) developing a scenic byway program;
(2) carrying out eligible projects on highways which are designated as part of the scenic byways system; and
(3) carrying out programs to promote the use of, and provide the public with information concerning, such system.
Sets forth requirements with respect to State nominations of highways for designation as scenic byways, such designation by the Secretary of highways meeting the minimum criteria (and termination of such designation under specified circumstances), priority projects, and eligible projects.
Requires each State to incorporate planning for scenic byways and recreational travel in its urban and statewide transportation planning.
Bars the Secretary from:
(1) making grants for projects which would not protect the scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, natural, and archeological integrity of the highway and adjacent area; and
(2) using more than five percent of the funds made available in any fiscal year to carry out (through the Office of Scenic Byways) planning, research, and technical assistance activities with respect to such program.
Sets forth provisions with respect to:
(1) public participation and comment in the designation of scenic byways and all-American roads and in the development of corridor management plans;
(2) funding under this Act; and
(3) limitations on the use of apportioned funds.
House Democratic Caucus Summary
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