California Department of Transportation
 

The 1958 Bonus Act

In 1958, Congress passed the first outdoor advertising control legislation which is commonly known as the "Bonus Law", PL 85-381, formerly codified as 23 U.S.C., Section 231. However, since it has been replaced by the Beautification Act, it can no longer be found in the United States Code. Its provisions still exist by reason of agreements.

The Bonus Act basically provided an incentive to states to control outdoor advertising within 660' of the Interstate system. States which complied with the Act would receive a bonus of one-half of one percent of the Federal Highway funds, which participated in the right-of-way acquisition and construction of the segment of Interstate on which outdoor advertising was controlled. Initially the bill that was introduced would have provided for a complete prohibition of standardized outdoor advertising on the Interstate system. Some signs were permitted, which will be explained later.

PART 750 - HIGHWAY BEAUTIFICATION

Subpart A - National Standards for Regulation by States of Outdoor Advertising Adjacent to the Interstate System Under the 1958 Bonus Program

Sec.
750.101 Purpose.
750.102 Definitions.
750.103 Measurements of distance.
750.104 Signs that may not be permitted in protected areas.
750.105 Signs that may be permitted in protected areas.
750.106 Class 3 and 4 signs within informational sites.
750.107 Class 3 and 4 signs outside informational sites.
750.108 General provisions.
750.109 Exclusions.
750.110 State regulations.
Authority: Sec. 12, Pub. L. 85-381, 72 Stat.. 95, as amended; 23 U.S.C. 131; delegation of authority in 49 CFR 1.48(b).
Source: 38 FR 16044, June 20, 1973, unless otherwise noted.

Sec. 750.101 Purpose.

(a) In section 12 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958, Pub. L. 85-381, 72 Stat. 95, hereinafter called the "act," the Congress declared that:
(1) To promote the safety, convenience, and enjoyment of public travel and the free flow of interstate commerce and to protect the public investment in the National System of Inter-state and Defense Highways, hereinafter called the "Interstate System," it is in the public interest to encourage and assist the States to control the use of and to improve areas adjacent to such system by controlling the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices adjacent to that system.
(2) It is a national policy that the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays, or devices within 660 feet of the edge of the right-of-way and visible from the main-traveled way of all portions of the Interstate System constructed upon any part of right-of-way, the entire width of which is acquired subsequent to July 1, 1956, should be regulated, consistent with national standards to be prepared and promulgated by the Secretary of Transportation.
(b) The standards in this part are hereby promulgated as provided in the act.
[38 FR 16044, June 20, 1973, as amended at 39 FR 28629,
Aug. 9, 1974]

Sec. 750.102 Definitions.

The following terms when used in the standards in this part have the following meanings:
(a) Acquired for right-of-way means acquired for right-of-way for any public road by the Federal Government, a State, or a county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, by donation, dedication, purchase, condemnation, use, or otherwise. The date of acquisition shall be the date upon which title (whether fee title or a lesser interest) vested in the public for right-of-way purposes under applicable Federal or State law.
(b) Centerline of the highway means a line equidistant from the edges of the median separating the main-traveled ways of a divided Interstate Highway, or the centerline of the main- traveled way of a non divided Interstate Highway.
(c) Controlled portion of the Interstate System means any portion which:
(1) Is constructed upon any part of right-of-way, the entire width of which is acquired for right-of-way subsequent to July 1, 1956 (a portion shall be deemed so constructed if, within such portion, no line normal or perpendicular to the centerline of the highway and extending to both edges of the right-of-way will intersect any right-of-way acquired for right-of-way on or before July 1, 1956);
(2) Lies within a State, the highway department of which has entered into an agreement with the Secretary of Transportation as provided in the act; and
(3) Is not excluded under the terms of the act which provide that agreements entered into between the Secretary of Transportation and the State highway department shall not apply to those segments of the Interstate System which traverse commercial or industrial zones within the boundaries of incorporated municipalities, as such boundaries existed on September 21, 1959, wherein the use of real property adjacent to the Interstate System is subject to municipal regulation or control, or which traverse other areas where the land use as of September 21, 1959, was clearly established by State law as industrial or commercial.
(d) Entrance roadway means any public road or turning roadway, including acceleration lanes, by which traffic may enter the main-traveled way of an Interstate Highway from the general road system within a State, irrespective of whether traffic may also leave the main-traveled way by such road or turning roadway.
(e) Erect means to construct, build, raise, assemble, place, affix, attach, create, paint, draw, or in any other way bring into being or establish.
(f) Exit roadway means any public road or turning roadway including deceleration lanes, by which traffic may leave the main-traveled way of an Interstate Highway to reach the general road system within a State, irrespective of whether traffic may also enter the main-traveled way by such road or turning roadway.
(g) Informational site means an area or site established and maintained within or adjacent to the right-of-way of a highway on the Interstate System by or under the supervision or control of a State highway department, wherein panels for the display of advertising and informational signs may be erected and maintained.
(h) Legible means capable of being read without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.
(I) Maintain means to allow to exist.
(j) Main-traveled way means the traveled way of an Interstate Highway on which through traffic is carried. In the case of a divided highway, the traveled way of each of the separated roadways for traffic in opposite directions is a main-traveled way. It does not include such facilities as frontage roads, turning roadways, or parking areas.
(k) Protected areas means all areas inside the boundaries of a State which are adjacent to and within 660 feet of the edge of the right-of-way of all controlled portions of the Interstate System within that State. Where a controlled portion of the Interstate System terminates at a State boundary which is not perpendicular or normal to the centerline of the highway, protected areas also means all areas inside the boundary of such State which are within 660 feet of the edge of the right-of-way of the Interstate Highway in the adjoining State.
(l) Scenic area means any public park or area of particular scenic beauty or historical significance designated by or pursuant to State law as a scenic area.
(m) Sign means any outdoor sign, display, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, or other thing which is designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform, any part of the advertising or informative contents of which is visible from any place on the main-traveled way of a controlled portion of the Interstate System.
(n) State means the District of Columbia and any State of the United States within the boundaries of which a portion of the Interstate System is located.
(o) State law means a State constitutional provision or statute, or an ordinance, rule, or regulation enacted or adopted by a State agency or political subdivision of a State pursuant to State constitution or statute.
(p) Trade name shall include brand name, trademark, distinctive symbol, or other similar device or thing used to identify particular products or services.
(q) Traveled way means the portion of a roadway for the movement of vehicles, exclusive of shoulders.
(r) Turning roadway means a connecting roadway for traffic turning between two intersection legs of an interchange.
(s) Visible means capable of being seen (whether or not legible) without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

Sec. 750.103 Measurements of distance.

(a) Distance from the edge of a right-of-way shall be measured horizontally along a line normal or perpendicular to the centerline of the highway.
(b) All distances under Sec. 750.107 (a)(2) and (b) shall be measured along the centerline of the highway between two vertical planes which are normal or perpendicular to and intersect the centerline of the highway, and which pass through the termini of the measured distance.
[38 FR 16044, June 20, 1973, as amended at 41 FR 9321, Mar. 4, 1976]

Sec. 750.104 Signs that may not be permitted in protected areas.

Erection or maintenance of the following signs may not be permitted in protected areas:
(a) Signs advertising activities that are illegal under State or Federal laws or regulations in effect at the location of such signs or at the location of such activities.
(b) Obsolete signs.
(c) Signs that are not clean and in good repair.
(d) Signs that are not securely affixed to a substantial structure, and
(e) Signs that are not consistent with the standards in this part.

Sec. 750.105 Signs that may be permitted in protected areas.

(a) Erection or maintenance of the following signs may be permitted in protected areas:
Class 1 - Official signs. Directional or other official signs or notices erected and maintained by public officers or agencies pursuant to and in accordance with direction or authorization contained in State of Federal law, for the purpose of carrying out an official duty or responsibility.
Class 2 - On-premise signs. Signs not prohibited by State law which are consistent with the applicable provisions of this section and Sec. 750.108 and which advertise the sale or lease of, or activities being conducted upon, the real property where the signs are located.
Not more than one such sign advertising the sale or lease of the same property may be permitted under this class in such manner as to be visible to traffic proceeding in any one direction on any one Interstate Highway. Not more than one such sign, visible to traffic proceeding in any one direction on any one Interstate Highway and advertising activities being conducted upon the real property where the sign is located, may be permitted under this class more than 50 feet from the advertised activity.
Class 3 - Signs within 12 miles of advertised activities. Signs not prohibited by State law which are consistent with the applicable provisions of this section and Secs. 750.106, 750.107, and 750.108 and which advertise activities being conducted within 12 air miles of such signs.
Class 4 - Signs in the specific interest of the traveling public. Signs authorized to be erected or maintained by State law which are consistent with the applicable provisions of this section and 750.106, 750.107, and 750.108 and which are designed to give information in the specific interest of the traveling public.
(b) A Class 2 or 3 sign, except a Class 2 sign not more than 50 feet from the advertised activity, that displays any trade name which refers to or identifies any service rendered or product sold, used, or otherwise handled more than 12 air miles from such sign may not be permitted unless the name of the advertised activity which is within 12 air miles of such sign is displayed as conspicuously as such trade name.
(c) Only information about public places operated by Federal, State, or local governments, natural phenomena, historic sites, areas of natural scenic beauty or naturally suited for outdoor recreation and places for camping, lodging, eating, and vehicle service and repair is deemed to be in the specific interest of the traveling public. For the purposes of the standards in this part, a trade name is deemed to be information in the specific interest of the traveling public only if it identifies or characterizes such a place or identifies vehicle service, equipment, parts, accessories, fuels, oils, or lubricants being offered for sale at such a place. Signs displaying any other trade name may not be permitted under Class 4.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, Class 2 or Class 3 signs which also qualify as Class 4 signs may display trade names in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section.

Sec. 750.106 Class 3 and 4 signs within informational sites.

(a) Informational sites for the erection and maintenance of Class 3 and 4 advertising and informational signs may be established in accordance with Sec. 1.35 of this chapter. The location and frequency of such sites shall be as determined by agreements between the Secretary of Transportation and the State highway departments.
(b) Class 3 and 4 signs may be permitted within such informational sites in protected areas in a manner consistent with the following provisions:
(1) No sign may be permitted which is not placed upon a panel.
(2) No panel may be permitted to exceed 13 feet in height or 25 feet in length, including border and trim, but excluding supports.
(3) No sign may be permitted to exceed 12 square feet in area, and nothing on such sign may be permitted to be legible from any place on the main-traveled way or a turning roadway.
(4) Not more than one sign concerning a single activity or place may be permitted within any one informational site.
(5) Signs concerning a single activity or place may be permitted within more than one informational site, but no Class 3 sign which does not also qualify as a Class 4 sign may be permitted within any informational site more than 12 air miles from the advertised activity.
(6) No sign may be permitted which moves or has any animated or moving parts.
(7) Illumination of panels by other than white lights may not be permitted, and no sign placed on any panel may be permitted to contain, include, or be illuminated by any other lights, or any flashing, intermittent, or moving lights.
(8) No lighting may be permitted to be used in any way in connection with any panel unless it is so effectively shielded as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the main-traveled way of the Interstate System, or is of such low intensity or brilliance as not to cause glare or to impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle, or to otherwise interfere with any driver's operation of a motor vehicle.
[23 FR 8793, Nov. 13, 1958, as amended at 35 FR 18719, Dec. 10, 1970; 41 FR 9321, Mar. 4, 1976]

Sec. 750.107 Class 3 and 4 signs outside informational sites.

(a) The erection or maintenance of the following signs may be permitted within protected areas, outside informational sites:
(1) Class 3 signs which are visible only to Interstate highway traffic not served by an informational site within 12 air miles of the advertised activity;
(2) Class 4 signs which are more than 12 miles from the nearest panel within an informational site serving Interstate highway traffic to which such signs are visible.
(3) Signs that qualify both as Class 3 and 4 signs may be permitted in accordance with either paragraph (a)(1) or (2) of this section.
(b) The erection or maintenance of signs permitted under paragraph (a) of this section may not be permitted in any manner inconsistent with the following:
(1) In protected areas in advance of an intersection of the main-traveled way of an Interstate highway and an exit roadway, such signs visible to Interstate highway traffic approaching such intersection may not be permitted to exceed the following number:

Distance from intersection Number of signs
0-2 miles 0
2-5 miles 6
More than 5 miles Average of one sign/mile


The specified distances shall be measured to the nearest point of the intersection of the traveled way of the exit roadway and the main-traveled way of the Interstate highway.
(2) Subject to the other provisions of this paragraph, not more than two such signs may be permitted within any mile distance measured from any point, and no such signs may be permitted to be less than 1,000 feet apart.
(3) Such signs may not be permitted in protected areas adjacent to any Interstate highway right-of-way upon any part of the width of which is constructed an entrance or exit roadway.
(4) Such signs visible to Interstate highway traffic which is approaching or has passed an entrance roadway may not be permitted in protected areas for 1,000 feet beyond the furthest point of the intersection between the traveled way of such entrance roadway and the main-traveled way of the Interstate highway.
(5) No such signs may be permitted in scenic areas.
(6) Not more than one such sign advertising activities being conducted as a single enterprise or giving information about a single place may be permitted to be erected or maintained in such manner as to be visible to traffic moving in any one direction on any one Interstate highway.
(c) No Class 3 or 4 signs other than those permitted by this section may be permitted to be erected or maintained within protected areas, outside informational sites.

Sec. 750.108 General provisions.

No Class 3 or 4 signs may be permitted to be erected or maintained pursuant to Sec. 750.107, and no Class 2 sign may be permitted to be erected or maintained, in any manner inconsistent with the following:
(a) No sign may be permitted which attempts or appears to attempt to direct the movement of traffic or which interferes with, imitates or resembles any official traffic sign, signal or device.
(b) No sign may be permitted which prevents the driver of a vehicle from having a clear and unobstructed view of official signs and approaching or merging traffic.
(c) No sign may be permitted which contains, includes, or is illuminated by any flashing, intermittent or moving light or lights.
(d) No lighting may be permitted to be used in any way in connection with any sign unless it is so effectively shielded as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the main-traveled way of the Interstate System, or is of such low intensity or brilliance as not to cause glare or to impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle, or to otherwise interfere with any driver's operation of a motor vehicle.
(e) No sign may be permitted which moves or has any animated or moving parts.
(f) No sign may be permitted to be erected or maintained upon trees or painted or drawn upon rocks or other natural features.
(g) No sign may be permitted to exceed 20 feet in length, width or height, or 150 square feet in area, including border and trim but excluding supports, except Class 2 signs not more than 50 feet from, and advertising activities being conducted upon, the real property where the sign is located.

Sec. 750.109 Exclusions.

The standards in this part shall not apply to markers, signs and plaques in appreciation of sites of historical significance for the erection of which provisions are made in an agreement between a State and the Secretary of Transportation, as provided in the Act, unless such agreement expressly makes all or any part of the standards applicable.

Sec. 750.110 State regulations.

A State may elect to prohibit signs permissible under the standards in this part without forfeiting its rights to any benefits provided for in the act.

Laws and Regulations:

Federal State Agreement:

Forms:

Highway Designations:

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