“Sign” of the Times 31 Aug 11

Senator Al Franken has announced a proposal to eliminate a costly federal rule forcing Minnesota communities to replace all road signs by 2018. According to Franken, eliminating this rule will remove a looming financial burden on cash-strapped Minnesota localities.

Senator Franken, who fought to eliminate the rule, applauded the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proposal to end the mandate that would have forced local communities to pay up to $55 million to replace traffic signs. In a January letter to the FHWA, Sen. Franken pressed the agency to suspend the sign requirements because of the unnecessary financial burden it would place on Minnesota communities.

“I’m pleased that the Federal Highway Administration has proposed to eliminate their unrealistic deadlines for the replacement of road signs,” said Senator Franken. “These unfunded mandates would have forced local communities to pay tens of millions of dollars at a time when they can least afford it.”

The rule being reconsidered would cost Minnesota between $55 million and $76 million, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It would have required all road signs to use new, expensive technology and include standardized lettering.