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Nelson files scenic byways, billboard legislation

By J. Lyn Carl,

Ausitn, TX – Enrolling Texas in the National Scenic Byways program is the goal of legislation filed today by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).

At a press conference today, Nelson laid out her plan (SB 511) that also will require the Texas Department of Transportation to develop a system for Texas roadways to meet the qualifications of the federal program. Participation in the program would make Texas eligible for grants for beautification and tourist-friendly highway markers.

Nelson noted a list of cities, organizations and individuals who support the legislation.

"As you can see form the long list of Texas supporters this is an issue that has widespread support," said Nelson.

The Flower Mound Republican also announced filing of her SB 512, which prevents new construction of billboards along highways or streets in Texas The legislation also prevents deteriorating billboards from being reconstructed or replaced and provides civil penalties for violations.

"It doesn't change current law and regulation," said the senator. She predicted a future in which Texas children could grow up in a state where the landscape is not "cluttered."

Nelson said the beauty of the state is conducive to attracting business and increasing economic development and she is confident this legislation will continue to ensure that beauty remains. She said it would have a positive economic benefit.

It was pointed out that there are 200 cities in Texas that already have adopted similar restrictions. Sugar Land is one of those cities. From an economic point of view, it has had a positive and not a negative effect, said a representative of the city of Sugar Land.

"It is my hope that we will protect these highways," Nelson said. "People in our state want state government to do something about this clutter."