Texas eyes billboard ban

| 3/14/2003

Roadside billboards commonplace on roadways are being targeted for extinction by Texas lawmakers.

State legislators have filed a pair of bills – SB512 and HB994 – to prohibit new billboards from being erected and prevent old ones from being replaced along any road or highway in the state.

Proponents say it would protect the environment and make Texas more attractive for visitors and businesses, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Almost 200 Texas cities have already banned new billboards. And five states – Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii – have already made their roads a no-advertising zone.

Texas reportedly has more than 30,000 billboards statewide, ranking third in the nation, and the Texas Department of Transportation issues 550 new permits a year.

Supporters of the ban dismissed suggestions that the roadside ads – which have been around at least since motor vehicles took to the road – are an important part of American culture and a service to drivers that should be protected, the newspaper reported. Instead, they say the boards obstruct the state’s scenic views.