August 14, 2006

Legislative Activity

August 14, 2006
To: AAF Advertising Federations
From: Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Coordinator – Government Affairs
Re: Outdoor Advertising



The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is currently assessing the billboard control program. Comments from the public will be received until Monday, August 21.

Time is short. Please encourage members of your advertising federation to write the FHWA as soon as possible to explain the importance of outdoor advertising. This is a valuable opportunity not only to show support for our friends in the outdoor industry but also to demonstrate another benefit of their membership in your ad fed and the AAF.

The letters do not have to be lengthy. Specific topics that you may want to address are listed below. As a reminder, some of the benefits of outdoor advertising are also included.

Comments can be submitted by mail or fax or electronically. All comments must include the following docket number: FHWA-2006-25031.

By Mail: U.S. DOT Dockets Management Facility Room PL-407 400 Seventh Street SW Washington, DC 20590

By Fax: (202) 493-2251

Electronically: http://dms.dot.gov

Try to collect copies of the letters sent to the FHWA. Please send copies to us here at the AAF, and make sure your local outdoor members receive copies as well. Do not hesitate to contact us at (800) 999-2231 if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for your assistance with this important matter.

Topics you may want to address are:

  • How important outdoor advertising is as a medium for commercial and noncommercial speech.
  • How important billboards are to the local economy and to small businesses.
  • An explanation of how regulatory flexibility is a "win-win" for the public and for advertisers, allowing them to embrace new technologies, relocate and adjust heights of billboards and repair billboards damaged by disasters.
  • A description of the benefits of new technology for communities, law enforcement and advertisers.
  • Why relocation of billboards makes sense for taxpayers, road builders, government and sign owners.
Some benefits of outdoor advertising include:
  • Small and local businesses rely on outdoor advertising to reach consumers.
    • Nationwide, 70 percent of billboard revenue comes from small, local businesses. Billboards are often the most affordable media option.
  • Outdoor advertising helps create jobs and economic activity in communities.
  • Billboards are important to the travel and tourism industry.
    • Ninety percent of travelers rely on billboards to locate gas, food, lodging and tourist attractions.
    • Approximately one out of every five dollars spent by advertisers on billboards is for travel and tourism.
  • Not only does the business community benefit from outdoor advertising, but so do community service organizations. Outdoor advertisers donate millions of dollars worth of space to public service advertising.