Florida Outdoor Advertising Association

Outdoor Laws & Regulations-Federal Law & Regulations

Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act (HBA) in 1965. The HBA allows the location of billboards in commercial and industrial areas, mandates a state compliance program, requires the development of state standards, promotes the expeditious removal of illegal signs, and requires just compensation for takings. States not complying with the provisions of the HBA are subject to a 10% reduction in their highway allocations. Federal law is set forth in the Highway Beautification Act (P.L. 89-285) while federal regulations can be found at Title 23 C.F.R., Section 750.

Highway Beautification Act (HBA)
Highway Beautification Act of 1965
Public Law 89-285

Federal Regulations
Title 23, Code of Federal Regulations
Part 750-Highway Beautification

Federal-State Sign Agreement
In June 1967, FHWA began negotiating with the various states to execute the size,
lighting, and spacing agreements pursuant to section 131(d) of the HBA. Florida entered into an agreement on January 27, 1972.
Florida Federal-State Agreement

Amendments to the HBA
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)
ISTEA made the following amendments to the HBA of 1965:

  • Illegal signs must be removed by the owner or state.
  • Federal-aid Primary roads were "grandfathered" for control purposes as of June 1, 1991.
  • New billboards are prohibited on state designated scenic byways which are part of the Interstate or primary highway, however, billboards are allowed in segmented areas deemed not scenic.

In addition ISTEA and subsequent HBA Amendments made federal funds available for billboard removal and control, at the state’s discretion. Specific discretionary ISTEA funding programs include:

  • National Highway System and Interstate System Funds were established.
  • In 1995, the National Highway System Designation Act approved the NHS under ISTEA.
  • Portions of the FAP system, Interstate highways and other key arterial highways are on the new NHS program.
  • Surface Transportation Program - Transportation Enhancement Activities Funds. Interim and National Scenic Byways Funds were authorized.

1995 Scenic Byways Amendment (National Highway System Designation Act)

  • The scenic byways provision (which had been added to the HBA in 1991) was amended to give states the flexibility to exclude from state or federal scenic byways designation any segment of a road that it determines to be inconsistent with the state's criteria for designating scenic byways.
  • The amendment clarified that the erection of new billboards in certain "segmented" areas along state or federal designated scenic byways was acceptable so long as the state's determination is reasonable. It codified the FHWA policy adopted in 1993.

Policy, Guidance and Publications