1991 Scorecard Vote
The Surface Transportation Act governs the use of our nation's highways, and is reauthorized every five years. In 1991, environmental groups made a coordinated effort to make basic changes in the policy governing the financing of our nation's transportation program.
The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was intended to curb the proliferation of billboards along the nation's highways. Today, billboards are going up 20 times faster than states and local governments can remove them. The Federal Highway Administration has concluded that the Act has become a "sign industry dominated program that is actually enriching and subsidizing the industry." Environmental groups and local officials believe the law is little more than a "billboard protection act."
As reported out of committee, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization (S. 1204) would have banned new billboard construction along federally subsidized highways and restored local authority over billboard removal. S. 1204 would have also prohibited the destruction of publicly owned trees for the sole purpose of improved billboard visibility -- a practice allowed in 19 states.
This vote was on an amendment offered by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to strike all billboard reform from the bill. The Reid Amendment was adopted 60-39 on June 12, 1991. NO is the pro-environment vote.