LaHood reopens sign regulation to public comment

“It does not properly take into account the high costs that local governments would have to bear”

News U.S. DOT, Washington Post December 02, 2010
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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has issued a statement that the new regulation requiring local governments to replace street signs with more reflective signs with capital and lowercase letters “makes no sense. It does not properly take into account the high costs that local governments would have to bear. States, cities, and towns should not be required to spend money that they don’t have to replace perfectly good traffic signs.”

Local officials in Wisconsin and New York have recently complained that replacing all of their signs could cost millions of dollars, the Washington Post reported.

“To set things right,” LaHood continued, “the first step is to reopen public comment and give people a chance to weigh in. There have got to be better ways to improve safety without piling costs onto the American people. Safety is our priority, but so is good government. Listening to the public helps to ensure both.”

What the Washington Post and other media are not reporting, according to a source contacted by ROADS & BRIDGES at the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), is that local governments are not required to replace all of their signs immediately or even within the next year. The local agencies have until 2018 to make the switch to the new-style signs. And they are supposed to be replacing signs routinely as they lose their retroreflectivity, so they can start by simply replacing only the signs that are worn out with signs in the new style. And the new signs don’t cost any more than the old-style signs.

The Washington Post does report that the new-style signs have been shown by research to be easier for drivers to see at night and easier to read.

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