Cicilline Bill to Create New Economic Opportunities for Rhode Island Becomes Law

Sep 23, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline’s (RI-01) bill, the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act (H.R. 831), was signed into law yesterday. Introduced with Republican Congressman Garrett Graves (LA-06), Cicilline’s bill directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to revive the National Scenic Byways Program. The bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this month.


“From Paradise Avenue on Aquidneck Island to Route 102, Rhode Island’s scenic byways are some of the most beautiful in the country,” Cicilline said. “Passage of this bipartisan bill to revive the Scenic Byways Program allows for picturesque byways in our state and throughout the country to compete for this important designation and the economic benefits that accompany it. I’m grateful for my colleagues’ support of this legislation in Congress, and I’m proud to see it signed into law.”


The Scenic Byways Program began in 1991 by designating 150 roadways as “National Scenic Byways.” Communities who have received the designation since then have been able to generate millions in new economic activity. When Congress stopped funding the National Scenic Byways Program in 2012, Rhode Island was one of only four states who had not received a designation.


In order to be eligible for a National Scenic Byway designation, roads must meet one of six qualifications: scenic quality, natural quality, historic quality, cultural quality, archaeological quality, or recreational quality. Additionally, the community must create a plan to maintain the byway’s natural beauty. Since the program was defunded, more than forty scenic byways are prepared to apply for new designations.