With anniversary observances of two wars expected to bring an influx of tourists, Maryland has received a $5.6 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to improve and market its scenic roads.
The infusion of money for the Maryland's Byways program will help the state prepare for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War starting in 2011 and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Important engagements of both wars were fought on Maryland soil, including the defense of Baltimore in 1814 and the Antietam campaign of 1862.
In addition, Maryland will soon be observing a celebration of the life of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman, an Eastern Shore native.
The grant application was a joint effort of the Maryland Office of Tourism and the State Highway Administration. It will go to help fund the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway in Frederick County, the Star-Spangled Banner Byway in Baltimore and Baltimore, Prince George's and Calvert counties, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Dorchester and Caroline counties.
According to the state Department of Economic Development, the grant to Maryland was the largest awarded by the federal agency in the current competitive process.