Testimony of Debbie Rohe, President, Scenic Michigan
Environment and Public Works Committee
United States Senate
Hearing on TEA-21 Reauthorization
The Transportation Needs of Small Towns and Rural Places
August 29, 2002
Mr. Chairman, I am Debbie Rohe, President of Scenic Michigan. On behalf of our Board and members we appreciate the opportunity to present written testimony on the re-authorization of TEA-21 Scenic Michigan is a nonprofit organization that helps communities in the state of Michigan protect their scenic beauty and distinctive community character. We have 700 members statewide. We are dedicated to the proposition from Scenic America that change is inevitable; ugliness is not.
I want to share with you a story from one of our members, and one that we often hear.
An elderly couple moves into a condominium complex in St. Clair Shores, Michigan and enjoy a view of the golf course and the night sky over their community. The couple lives in a seven-story condominium building. Over the next three years, 3 large billboards with high intensity lights are constructed facing their building. Who knows how many more are planned. Now we have to pull our drapes at night because the billboard lights are so intense. This is no way to live.
Communities dont have the deep pockets to fight the billboard companies in court, which leaves the community and its residents with little power to fight this kind of blight. We know that property values go down when billboards go up.
Help communities, counties and cities control the blight and the stray lighting that comes from billboards, with some tough legislation that we can use.