Justice and Law Enforcement:

The Outdoor Advertising Control Program Needs To Be Reassessed

RCED-85-34: Published: Jan 3, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 1985.


Herbert R. McLure
(202) 275-7783


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the effectiveness of the outdoor advertising control program, which was established by the Highway Beautification Act of 1965.

GAO found that, since the enactment of the act, thousands of outdoor advertising signs have been removed to enhance the natural beauty of the nation's highways. However, many prohibited signs are still standing and are likely to remain, because federal funds are not being appropriated to compensate sign owners for their removal, as the act requires. GAO concluded that either additional federal funding or a change in the act's compensation requirement of the act will be required to meet the act's goals.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: Congress should reassess the outdoor advertising control program, weighing the program's goals and requirements against program costs and, if warranted, consider changes to the goal and requirements which reflect an appropriate level of funding.

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress reassessed the outdoor advertising control program as part of the reauthorization of the Federal-Aid Highway Program. Reauthorization legislation was enacted in early 1987. Congress chose not to change the Highway Beautification Program.

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should complete the review of the Federal Highway Administration's proposed program changes, develop the Department of Transportation's (DOT) position on the program, and present that position to Congress.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Transportation completed the review of the program and proposed legislation, which addressed the problems GAO identified in the report.

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