Texans Speak Up for Beautiful Highways

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TxDOT withdraws proposal for taller billboards.

Scenic Texas
From all across the state, citizens told TxDOT what they tell us every day -- that they love Texas highway views and they want them protected," said Margaret Lloyd, vice president, Scenic Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has withdrawn its June 2014 proposed rule change that would have allowed billboards along federal highways to be taller. After receiving public comments from more than 900 Texans and 15 organizations in opposition to taller billboards, the agency advised today it is removing the item from consideration on the August 28 Texas Transportation Commission agenda.

The agency noted the withdrawal was influenced by two expert reports it received from Scenic Texas, one that disputed a previous report TxDOT relied upon, and the second supporting an alternative 30 foot height proposal by Scenic Texas. It further cited the 900-plus comments by Texans who said they wanted scenic roads, not roads cluttered by taller commercial advertising billboards. See more details.

“We had confidence Texans would speak up for the beauty of their state. From all across the state, citizens told TxDOT what they tell us every day---that they love Texas highway views and they want them protected,” said Margaret Lloyd, vice president, Scenic Texas. “We read their comments. They were passionate and compelling.”

Other organizations joining Scenic Texas in opposition to the taller billboards were the Economic Development Commission of Gillespie County; the Environmental Tree Committee of the Northwest Austin Civic Association; the Friends of the Preserve; the Greater Houston Partnership; the Green Earth Lighting Co.; the Hill Country Alliance; the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce; the Lady Bird Wildflower Center; the North Houston Association; the San Antonio Conservation Society; Scenic Comal County; Scenic Galveston; Scenic Houston; the City of San Antonio; and the Travis County Audubon Society.

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.

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Claudia Morlan
Elmore Public Relations
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