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TxDOT Considers Taller Billboards

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014, 05:39 PM CDT

We're used to seeing billboards all around Austin. Their height is governed by the City of Austin. But in rural areas, the Texas Department of Transportation decides how tall is too tall, and billboard owners are saying 42 feet is not tall enough.

As rural roads get busier billboards are popping up to target this audience on wheels.  

Margaret Lloyd, VP of Scenic Texas complains, "They already intrude on the enjoyment of the landscapes in Texas that Lady Bird Johnson and President Johnson were trying to protect." 

Lloyd blames billboard operators for a proposed rule changes that would make the signs even more prominent. She adds, "They're the ones who requested this rule change. They're the ones who will benefit from this rule change. The public will not benefit at all."

The proposal before TxDOT would raise the maximum height for billboards from 42 feet to 65 feet. That's about the height of a six-story building. And billboard operators say they need that height. 

Billy Reagan, president of Reagan Outdoor Advertising says the rules were adopted some 30 years ago and highways you find are much different today. Cars are now zooming past their signs faster than ever, and obstacles have popped up over the years.  

Regan adds, "You have flyovers, you have below-grade lanes, you have sound walls and also you have increased vegetation. I think these proposed rule changes will allow us to mitigate these situations and allow us to continue operate as an industry."

TxDOT commissioners are accepting public comment on this issue through July 14.  You may email them at rulecomment@txdot.com.  A decision is expected in august.

By Fred Cantu

TxDOT Considers Taller Billboards


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