The Outdoor Advertising Control Program Needs To Be Reassessed

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

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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.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. 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.

    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.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. 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.

    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


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