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Federal highway sign rule eliminated to save communities money

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/15/12] -- U.S. Sen. Franken (D-Minn.) said today that cash-strapped communities across Minnesota won't have to spend tens of millions of dollars to replace traffic signs - many of which still have years of life left in them - after a federal regulation requiring them to do so was shelved at his urging.

Sen. Franken, who pressed federal highway officials to reconsider the rule after hearing about its budget impact from community leaders across the state, said the rule was estimated by state transportation officials to cost Minnesota communities between $55 million and $76 million.

"Communities all over Minnesota are already struggling to pay for essential services and meet their budgets, and these regulations would have forced them to pay tens of millions of dollars for signs they don't need," said Sen. Franken. "I'm glad the Obama Administration listened to the concerns of communities across Minnesota and decided to eliminate these unreasonable deadlines, giving them more control over their budgets and their road signs."

In 2011, Sen. Franken urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to reconsider its rules that would require communities all over Minnesota to spend millions of dollars replacing their signs with newer, more reflective signs before the original signs had worn out. Today, the FHWA announced that they would eliminate that rule, along with a number of other signage regulations, instead allowing municipalities to upgrade the signs when they are already scheduled to be replaced.