Austin, TX (PRWEB) June 16, 2014
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has announced proposed rule changes that would permit the height of billboards along federal highways to be increased from 42.5 feet to 65 feet, a 35% increase, unless they are located inside a city having stricter standards.
Scenic Texas opposes the proposed new rule, which is being considered solely at the request of the billboard industry, and believes that raising the height of Texas billboards serves no public purpose. Scenic Texas believes billboards are already a driver distraction at the current height, cause light pollution in rural areas as most are brightly lit at night, and have a negative impact on natural wildlife habitats. Furthermore, billboards degrade taxpayer’s investment in public highways, create visual pollution and spoil scenic views. Taller billboards would simply aggravate all these concerns.
“Most Texans believe billboard advertising signs spoil the view and would be happy to see them disappear,” said Margaret Lloyd, vice president, Scenic Texas. “Certainly, they tell us that at the current height, they are already too intrusive. We don’t think Texans will embrace the idea of even taller billboards.”
All interested persons may testify in Austin at a TxDOT public hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 24, at 125 E. 11th Street. Written comments may be submitted before 5:00 p.m., July 14, by email using the subject line "Right of Way" and address to RuleComments(at)txdot(dot)gov or by mail addressed to: Rule Comments, General Counsel’s Office, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. The proposed rules and comment details can be found at http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/adm/2014/0529/6b2.pdf
Background: In 1965, the federal Highway Beautification Act (HBA), championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, was adopted by Congress, and mandates that states maintain effective control of outdoor advertising along interstates, U.S. highways and roads that are on the federal primary system, through the location, size, lighting, and spacing of billboards. A state may certify cities to maintain effective control inside a city’s jurisdiction. In Texas, there are 40 certified cities. There are four states in the U.S. with no billboards---Maine, Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii. Scenic Texas estimates that Texas has approximately 40,000 billboards.
Scenic Texas is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization. The mission of Scenic Texas is to preserve and enhance the visual character of Texas. We promote enhanced design standards for public projects, billboard reduction, freeway landscaping, sign control and scenic byway development. Visit http://www.scenictexas.org.