Proud to Be Billboard-Free
“Whereas, billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising are becoming a matter of increasing concern to many residents….”
So began the joint resolution of the Vermont State Assembly in 1967, when it created the Committee to Study Outdoor Advertising, which included future U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords. It held public hearings, conducted research and reviewed the relevant law on outdoor advertising.
According to the Committee’s report, “Our scenic resources… have contributed much to our economic development by attracting tourists, …residents, and new industries and cultural facilities. …[T]he scattering of outdoor advertising throughout the state is detrimental to the preservation of these resources, and
consequently to the economic base of the state.”
In 1968, Vermont prohibited new billboards and provided an amortization period of five years to remove existing billboards. By 1974, Vermont felled its last billboard.
In 1997, the state commissioned an independent study of outdoor advertising to review the success of the billboard ban and to assess other forms of advertising. Public opinion polls and studies echoed the 1967 report. The study stated that traveler information solutions must maintain Vermont’s quality environment, continue to prohibit billboards, and prevent sign clutter.
Decades after the passage of the legislation and the fall of the last billboard, Vermont draws millions of tourists from around the world each year to experience its scenic beauty. Far from being hampered by the absence of billboards, the state’s tourism industry is thriving. In 2019, travel and tourism was a $3 billion industry that supported over 30,000 jobs across the state, generating $373 million in tax revenue.
Vermont joins Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine as one of four states to ban billboards. Scenic America estimates that approximately 700 communities also have billboard bans in place.
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