The legislature hereby finds that certain portions of the state highway system are notable for their scenic, historic, recreational, cultural and archeological value and worthy of designation as scenic byways to provide special consideration of their unique features and special role in the highway system. The legislature further finds that the public interest would be served by the formation of a coordinated scenic byways program to enhance recreation, preserve and protect scenic, historic, recreational, cultural and archeological resources, encourage economic development through tourism, improve the transportation system, and educate residents and visitors of the history and culture of this state. The legislature further finds that several programs administered by various agencies of state government exist to assess scenic quality of highway corridors, to maintain state highways and rights-of-way, and to plan for recreation to promote economic development through tourism. The legislature further finds that several not-for-profit organizations exist to encourage public participation in the enhancement of designated highway routes, and to coordinate and promote tourism along such designated highway routes. It is therefore the intent of the legislature to establish a scenic byways program in the department of transportation to guide and coordinate the activities of state agencies, local governments and not-for-profit organizations in order to create a comprehensive program that will better serve the public interest.