Scenic America continues its diligence in protecting the nation’s safety and beautification efforts by working quickly to ensure that an amendment filed on H.R. 8294, the six-bill appropriations minibus, was stopped. The amendment would have kept the Federal Highway Administration from enforcing the Highway Beautification Act (HBA) by cutting off all funding to implement the program.
The outdoor advertising industry periodically tries to find ways around the current safety mandates in the HBA and the limitations on billboard placement. Scenic America worked to ensure that other Members of Congress were aware of the negative impacts the amendment could have and emphasized the importance of HBA authorities in protecting the safety of the traveling public.
“We are grateful to the members of Congress who recognized the harmful impacts this amendment would have and helped ensure that it was stopped. It would have weakened the Highway Beautification Act and made our roads more dangerous,” said Mark Falzone, president, Scenic America.
The U.S. House of Representatives pass the minibus package yesterday by a vote of 220-207. Included in the legislation is $30 million in funding for the National Scenic Byways Program, which delivers a welcome economic boost to another of Scenic America’s key priority programs. This year’s byways funding level represents a marked increase from prior years’ funding; the FY21 and FY22 appropriations bills included $16 million and $6 million, respectively.
“With this billboard amendment removed and funding for byways included at a higher level, the House of Representatives and our champions in Congress have shown us once again that they understand the economic and social benefits of safe and scenic roadways,” said Falzone.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to release its spending proposal in the coming weeks.