Story Archive

Forces of Darkness

The U.S. Highway Beautification Act, which goes back to 1964, says highway billboards may not exceed 1,200 square feet. A 2012 federal law says New York’s Times Square is part of the nation’s highway system, and in 2015 a federal bureaucrat woke up and realized what that meant: the dazzlingly lighted billboards of the Great White Way, which draw tourists from around the globe, are an unlawful eyesore that must be beautified into darkness — or New York City could lose approximately $90 million in highway subsidies. The city’s transportation commissioner said the signs aren’t going anywhere. “They’re iconic. They’re not only a global tourist attraction, they’re important to the economy.” The city may ask the feds for an exemption from the beautification law. (AC/WCBS New York) ...Times Square is already beautiful. The federal bureaucracy, not so much.
Original Publication Date: 24 May 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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