Government Affairs Updates | February 2024

Wanted billboard in Tennessee

Wanted billboard in Tennessee

Federal – Airports

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation announced $1B in airport grants as part of the 2021 Infrastructure Act. The Act provides a total of $5B from 2022 – 2026 for airport terminal development projects. In this round, 114 airports will receive funding across 44 states and 3 territories. Among the larger awards are $40M for Chicago O’Hare; $35M for Washington Dulles; $31M for San Francisco International; $31M for Los Angeles International; $27M for Charlotte Douglas International; $26.6 for Denver International; and $20M for Salt Lake City International.

States – Transit

Numerous state budget actions continue to cast an uncertain future for mass transit. On the positive side, Gov. Josh Shapiro (PA) proposed a much needed state budget increase in operating funds for PA transit systems. Meanwhile, neighboring state Governors foreshadowed potential fare increases of 15% in New Jersey and a $2B projected transit funding short-fall (over five years) in the Maryland budget.

Federal – DOT

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation will continue their public relations efforts to combat human trafficking. The DOT awareness campaign will further their nationwide messaging across all forms of travel, and build on efforts from January, which was National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Many of our OAAA members engage in public service campaigns on this topic.

Political – Billboards 

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have traded barbs over billboard ads in Michigan. The DNC attacked Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. with Kennedy responding by positioning himself as a third-party alternative. While Kennedy is not listed on the Michigan ballot, he is trying to qualify for the November general election as an Independent. This campaign back and forth continues to show the value of OOH in messaging and reaching the public.

Federal – FHWA

U.S. DOT continues to roll-out funding awards, with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announcing a new Congestion Relief Program. The program is funded and authorized under the 2021 Infrastructure Act and provides $250M in grants to urban areas with a minimum of one million in population. The program goal is to reduce highway congestion and to enhance coordination with transit systems. This initial funding opportunity is now open for applicants from metropolitan planning organizations, cities, and municipalities.

State – Public Service

Member company Lamar assisted the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and local law enforcement in a week long manhunt of an individual suspected of killing a sheriff’s deputy. Digital billboard ads helped advise the public and aided in his apprehension. We are proud of our strong industry partnership with law enforcement and the willingness of our member companies to assist in times of emergency.