Despite 'beautification' effort, billboards abound

Ever wondered what happened to the nationwide highway beautification plan, which among other things was to remove certain billboards from cluttered roads throughout the United States?

Well, over 100,000 of those originally targeted billboards have been removed as a result of congressional laws passed in 1965.

These were sold to the government by the owners and subsequently destroyed. But the balance - many of which are large installations and represent heavy capital investments - are still in place.

The problem is largely that many of them are just too costly for the government to purchase.

Best guesses are that buying up the remaining billboards would cost the federal government between $1 billion and $2 billion - depending on how long Uncle Sam would take to complete the buyout.

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