23 U.S.C. § 131 - Control of outdoor advertising

Cite as:23 U.S.C. § 131
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
FREE EXCERPT

(a) The Congress hereby finds and declares that the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices in areas adjacent to the Interstate System and the primary system should be controlled in order to protect the public investment in such highways, to promote the safety and recreational value of public travel, and to preserve natural beauty.

(b) Federal-aid highway funds apportioned on or after January 1, 1968, to any State which the Secretary determines has not made provision for effective control of the erection and maintenance along the Interstate System and the primary system of outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices which are within six hundred and sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way and visible from the main traveled way of the system, and Federal-aid highway funds apportioned on or after January 1, 1975, or after the expiration of the next regular session of the State legislature, whichever is later, to any State which the Secretary determines has not made provision for effective control of the erection and maintenance along the Interstate System and the primary system of those additional outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices which are more than six hundred and sixty feet off the nearest edge of the right-of-way, located outside of urban areas, visible from the main traveled way of the system, and erected with the purpose of their message being read from such main traveled way, shall be reduced by amounts equal to 10 per centum of the amounts which would otherwise be apportioned to such State under section 104 of this title, until such time as such State shall provide for such effective control. Any amount which is withheld from apportionment to any State hereunder shall be reapportioned to the other States. Whenever he determines it to be in the public interest, the Secretary may suspend, for such periods as he deems necessary, the application of this subsection to a State.

(c) Effective control means that such signs, displays, or devices after January 1, 1968, if located within six hundred and sixty feet of the right-of-way and, on or after July 1, 1975, or after the expiration of the next regular session of the State legislature, whichever is later, if located beyond six hundred and sixty feet of the right-of-way located outside of urban areas, visible from the main traveled way of the system, and erected with the purpose of their message being read from such main traveled way, shall, pursuant to this section, be limited to (1) directional and official signs and notices, which signs and notices shall include, but not be limited to, signs and notices pertaining to natural wonders, scenic and historical attractions, which are required or authorized by law, which shall conform to national standards hereby authorized to be promulgated by the Secretary hereunder, which standards shall contain provisions concerning lighting, size, number, and spacing of signs, and such other requirements as may be appropriate to implement this section, (2) signs, displays, and devices advertising the sale or lease of property upon which they are located, (3) signs, displays, and devices, including those which may be changed at reasonable intervals by electronic process or by remote control, advertising activities conducted on the property on which they are located, (4) signs lawfully in existence on October 22, 1965, determined by the State, subject to the approval of the Secretary, to be landmark signs, including signs on farm structures or natural surfaces, or historic or artistic significance the preservation of which would be consistent with the purposes of this section, and (5) signs, displays, and devices advertising the distribution by nonprofit organizations of free coffee to individuals traveling on the Interstate System or the primary system. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "free coffee" shall include coffee for which a donation may be made, but is not required.

(d) In order to promote the reasonable, orderly and effective display of outdoor advertising while remaining consistent with the purposes of this section, signs, displays, and devices whose size, lighting and spacing, consistent with customary use is to be determined by agreement between the several States and the Secretary, may be erected and maintained within six hundred and sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way within areas adjacent to the Interstate and primary systems which are zoned industrial or commercial under authority of State law, or in unzoned commercial or industrial areas as may be determined by agreement between the several States and the Secretary. The States shall have full authority under their own zoning laws to zone areas for commercial or industrial purposes, and the actions of the States in this regard will be accepted for the purposes of this Act. Whenever a bona fide State, county, or local zoning authority has made a determination of customary use, such determination will be accepted in lieu of controls by agreement in the zoned commercial and industrial areas within the geographical jurisdiction of such authority. Nothing in this subsection shall apply to signs, displays, and devices referred to in clauses (2) and (3) of subsection (c) of this section.

(e) Any sign, display, or device lawfully in existence along the Interstate System or the Federal-aid primary system on September 1, 1965, which does not conform to this section shall not be required to be removed until July 1, 1970. Any other sign, display, or device lawfully erected which does not conform to this section shall not be required to be removed until the end of the fifth year after it becomes nonconforming.

(f) The Secretary shall, in consultation with the States, provide within the rights-of-way for areas at appropriate distances from interchanges on the Interstate System, on which signs, displays, and devices giving specific information in the interest of the traveling public may be erected and maintained. The Secretary may also, in consultation with the States, provide within the rights-of-way of the primary system for areas in which signs, displays, and devices giving specific information in the interest of the traveling public may be erected and maintained. Such signs shall conform to national standards to be promulgated by the Secretary.

(g) Just compensation shall be paid upon the removal of any outdoor advertising sign, display, or device lawfully erected under State law and not permitted under subsection (c) of this section, whether or not removed pursuant to or because of this section. The Federal share of such compensation shall be 75 per centum. Such compensation shall be paid for the following:

(A) The taking from the owner of such sign, display, or device of all right, title, leasehold, and interest in such sign, display, or device; and

(B) The taking from the owner of the real property on which the sign, display, or device is located, of the right to erect and maintain such signs, displays, and devices thereon.

(h) All public lands or reservations of the United States which are adjacent to any portion of the Interstate System and the primary system shall be controlled in accordance with the provisions of this section and the national standards promulgated by the Secretary.

(i) In order to provide information in the specific interest of the traveling public, the State transportation departments are authorized to maintain maps and to permit information directories and advertising pamphlets to be made available at safety rest areas. Subject to the approval of the Secretary, a State may also establish information centers at safety rest areas and other travel information systems within the rights-of-way for the purpose of informing the public of places of interest within the State and providing such other information as a State may consider desirable. The Federal share of the cost of establishing such an information center or travel information system shall be that which is provided in section 120 for a highway project on that Federal-aid system to be served by such center or system. A State may permit the installation of signs that acknowledge the sponsorship of rest areas within such rest areas or along the main traveled way of the system, provided that such signs shall not affect the safe and efficient utilization of the Interstate System and the primary system. The Secretary shall establish criteria for the installation of such signs on the main traveled way, including criteria pertaining to the placement of rest area sponsorship acknowledgment signs in relation to the placement of advance guide signs for rest areas.

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP