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Oklahoma Historic and Scenic Byway Incentive Program

U.S. Route 66 and other scenic byways bring visitors into Oklahoma to visit iconic sites and for the nostalgia of driving important highways. These visitors spend their income in Oklahoma when they stop at sites along the historic and scenic byways. This spending generates an economic benefit to businesses located in the state as well as to the state and local communities.

Purpose

To capture more spending and encourage longer stays in Oklahoma, the purpose of the Oklahoma Historic and Scenic Byway Incentive Program will be to encourage the investment, construction and installation of iconic sites along U.S. Route 66 and other scenic byways.  These new developments will enhance the cultural, recreational, scenic and/or natural qualities of the designated highways and byways and are intended to encourage more people to stop at the locations and generate sales taxes benefitting the state and local communities. 

Eligible Locations

Eligible Oklahoma locations for this program are sites along highways or byways designated as:

  1. A National Scenic Byway (NSB) by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration;
  2. An All-American Road (AAR) by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration;
  3. A byway or Heritage Trail designated as an “Oklahoma Scenic Byway” during Oklahoma’s Centennial year by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the University of Oklahoma Outreach; or
  4. A highway designated as a “Gateway” in Oklahoma statutes and intended to increase tourism in a region.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants to this program may be:

  • Cities, towns or counties that include one of the eligible highways or byways within its borders. If the applicant is a city, town or county, it must include for-profit business entities that would benefit from increased sales associated with the incentive and those business entities must not be participating in an incentive program that would preclude participating in this incentive program.  The included for-profit business entities must have a combined payroll of at least $2,000,000 per year. 
  • For-Profit business entities that would benefit from increased sales associated with increased visitors traveling on one of the eligible highways or byways. These business entities must have an annual statewide payroll of at least $5,000,000 per year and must not be participating in an incentive program that would preclude participating in this incentive program. 

Eligible Uses

If awarded, the award must be utilized to develop, construct and/or install an iconic site along one of the eligible highways or byways.  Recognizing that each scenic byway has its own personality, these sites will enhance the experience of driving on the scenic highway/byway and should not detract from the experience.  This could include:

  • Buildings of distinctive architecture;
  • Landscaping that serves as an oasis along a highway;
  • Cultural or recreational amenities;
  • Distinctive installations or art that is easily visible from the highway.

These eligible uses must be in proximity to business entities that would benefit from increased sales associated with visitors.   

Process

  • Project planning to be performed by the applying city/town or county or by the applying for-profit business entity;
  • Application to Oklahoma Department of Commerce;
  • If positive benefit to state, project sent to the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority for their Board’s review. This authorizes beginning of collection of withholding taxes if approved. 
  • If approved by ODFA Board, the design of the iconic site will need approval from the appropriate entity before funds will be released.
    • The local city/town/county will have final approval of the design of the iconic site in their community; or
    • The Route 66 Commission will have final approval of the design of the iconic site along an eligible highway or byway.

Awards

If awarded:

  • For projects whose application originated from a city, town or county, the local government entity would own the iconic site;
  • For projects whose application originated from a for-profit business entity, the business entity would own the iconic site. 
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Analysis and assistance at no cost

Call us today at 800-588-5959 and we’ll get started on a cost/benefit analysis for your business. After your preliminary assessment, we can assist you with the application process.

Disclaimer

The materials contained on this website have been prepared by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal or tax advice. This information is subject to change based on judicial interpretation and legislative action. The application of the information is subject to your unique facts and circumstances. YOU SHOULD NOT ACT UPON ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THESE MATERIALS WITHOUT SEEKING YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL LEGAL AND TAX ADVICE.

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