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HIGHWAY CORRIDOR BOARD
[NDCC SECTION 24-17-06]

The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 was signed into law by President Dwight D Eisenhower. Two years later in 1958 the Federal-Aid Highway Act was enacted. The purpose for legislation was to attempt to control outdoor advertising along US highways.

In 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act to limit outdoor advertising. Legislation included changes for erecting billboards and locating junkyards along the road system. All states were encouraged to participate in the federal legislation and the participating states became known as the Bonus States. The Federal Government apportioned 75 per-cent of funding for this project. Initial federal legislation pertained to the right and control over the erection, location, or maintenance of billboards, signs, or any form of advertising adjacent to the highway system and included adjoining areas that were found to be essential to the restoration, preservation, and enhancement of scenic beauty.

In 1967 the North Dakota Legislature introduced legislation that established the Highway Corridor Board which was held responsible to declare policy for the regulation of advertising devices along highways through zoning principles and standards consistent with public policy and pursuant to Title 23, United States Code, Section 131 and Section 319. State legislation related to the areas adjacent to the North Dakota State Highway System and the Highway Corridor Board served as a state agency performing the functions as established through state legislation (S. L. 1967, Ch.291). A selection of five members, the organization of the Board, and the duties of the Board were a part of this legislation. The Board elected officers as needed with the State Highway Commissioner serving as the permanent Chairman. Administrative staff was provided by the State Highway Department and the following members were appointed: the State Highway Commissioner, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and the Director of the Economic Development Commission (or a designee). The president of the North Dakota Outdoor Advertising Association named a representative who would serve a four year term and a representative was selected by the President of the North Dakota Motel Association and served a two-year term. The Board had responsibility to regulate land use adjacent to the State Highway System consistent with the requirements under federal law.

North Dakota laws would be amended concerning outdoor advertising in later legislative sessions (1969, 1975, and 1977) to meet federal requirements. Several duties involving the Highway Corridor Board were repealed in 1981 (S. L. 1981, Ch. 336) and the final federal appropriation came in 1983 along with the repeal of Highway Corridor Board [NDCC 24-17-06].

The State Highway Commissioner took over the duties of the Board (S. L. 1983, Ch. 311). In 1989, the State Highway Department became the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Additional amendments by the State Legislature in 1995 related to outdoor advertising signs (S. L. 1995, Ch. 264) and in 2011 legislation involved the posting of political signs (S. L. 2011, Ch. 202).

CHRONOLOGY


1956       President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 also known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act. It was enacted on June 29, 1956 under Public Law 84-627.

1958       The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958 known as Public Law 85-381was enacted to control outdoor advertising. 

1965       President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act on October 22, 1965 for the purpose of limiting billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising, including the control of junkyards and other unsightly roadside messes adjacent to interstate and primary highways [NDCC 24-16-04]. The initial scope of the Act required that signs along primary systems be within six hundred and sixty feet of the roadway. It was a mandatory program that enforced a 10 percent penalty to the annual highway apportionment if any state that did not comply. Junkyards existing prior to December 3, 1965 and found to be in compliance with the law were reimbursed.    

1967       North Dakota legislation created the Highway Corridor Board including the membership, functions, and authority with the purpose of regulating the placing of advertising and construction of buildings adjacent to highways designated as state highways and to promote the public health, safety, welfare, convenience, enjoyment, and recreational value of public highways. The Board was to determine what would be necessary for restoration, preservation, and enhancement of scenic beauty adjacent to state highways.  Definitions were provided in the legislation including the term “right-of-way” which meant land, property, or interest acquired for or devoted to highway purposes including publicly owned and controlled rest and recreation areas, sanitary facilities reasonably necessary to accommodate the traveling public, and tracts of land necessary for the restoration and preservation and enhancement of scenic beauty adjacent to the State Highway System (S. L. 1967, Ch. 291).

1968       The US Secretary of Transportation could approve as a part of the construction of Federal-Aid highways the costs of landscape and roadside development, including acquisition and development of publicly owned and controlled rest and recreation areas, sanitary, and other facilities reasonably necessary to accommodate the traveling public, and for acquisition of interests in and improvement of strips of land necessary for the restoration, preservation, and enhancement of scenic beauty adjacent to such highways under Title 23, United States Code, Section 319.  Included under this section was the planting of wildflowers as required by the US Secretary of Transportation by using native wildflower seeds, seedlings, or both as a part of the roadside landscaping project.  At least of one-percent of the federal funds expended for such a project could be used by states for such plantings.

1969       Legislation amended the North Dakota Century Code relating to the limitations on outdoor advertising allowing for signs to be erected or maintained within six hundred and sixty feet from the nearest edge of the right-of-way and visible from the main-traveled way of any highway which was considered a part of the State Highway System. (S. L. 1969, Ch. 267). The makeup of the Highway Corridor Board membership did not change when the Economic Development Commission was renamed (BIDD) the Business and Industrial Development Department (S. L. 1969, Ch. 446).

1972       An agreement between the Highway Corridor Board and the US Secretary of Transportation was ratified.

1975       Legislation related to amending the North Dakota Century Code and concerned control of outdoor advertising adjacent to highways. Also included were contingencies on appropriations allotted to the state of North Dakota under Title 23 of the United States Code for use of matching federal funds for the purpose of removing any signs, displays, or devices that were not issued a permit by the State Highway Commissioner or the Highway Corridor Board (S. L. 1975, Ch. 244).

1977       Additional changes were addressed at the request of the State Highway Department concerning the limiting of outdoor advertising beyond the required six hundred sixty feet of space as amended by Title 23 of United States Code, Section 131 from the edge of the highway right-of-way (S. L. 1977, Ch. 238).

1981       Legislation repealed the function of the Highway Corridor Board to hold public hearings as published in the official county newspaper of the affected county wherein the land tracts were located and the publishing of resolutions, rules, or regulations which proposed changes to tracts of land (S. L. 1981, Ch. 336). Board membership did not change when legislation created the Economic Development Commission and repealed references to (BIDD) the Business and Industrial Development Department (S. L. 1981, Ch. 528).

1983       A new section was added to the Century Code concerning an agreement between the Highway Corridor Board and the US Secretary of Transportation. The regulation of outdoor advertising and duties of the Highway Corridor Board were transferred to the State Highway Commissioner. Legislation repealed the duties and authority of the Highway Corridor Board and the State Highway Commissioner became the successor to carry out the obligations, duties, and authority of the Board (S. L. 1983, Ch. 311). Funding for the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 as appropriated by US Congress out of the General Fund ceased.

1989       The State Highway Department was renamed the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the State Highway Commissioner title was changed to Director. Functions and structure, administrative rules and references, and cooperative agreements were to be entered into by the Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation.  Changes to the Century Code used the North Dakota Department of Transportation or its Director for the State Highway Department or Department of Motor Vehicles. Under North Dakota Century Code [NDCC 24 and NDCC 39] definitions for highway contracts, junkyard and billboard regulations, and other responsibilities were amended. Language changed the Code relating to the State Highway Department and the State Highway Commissioner. Legislation expanded the definition of outdoor advertising (S. L. 1989, Ch. 72).

1991       The National Scenic Byways Program was created as a part of the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). ISTEA created a discretionary federal grant program for funding byway projects.

1995       Legislation amended the Century Code regarding the wording on the use of signs placed on property contiguous to the advertised activity “under the same ownership, lease, rent, or control as the property with the advertised activity”. Other language changed the name State Highway Commissioner to Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation (S. L. 1995, Ch. 264).

1996       The North Dakota Scenic Byway Program was created in 1996 by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (NDPRD), and North Dakota Tourism Department (NDTD). The purpose was to seek out and promote roadways in North Dakota that possess outstanding and unique scenic qualities. North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department took the leadership role in implementing the Scenic Byways Program with technical assistance provided by the remaining two Departments.

2011       A new subsection was added to the Century Code relating to political signs describing them as temporary signs erected on private property including “signs soliciting votes in an election in support or in opposition of any candidate or any political party under whose designation a candidate would seek a nomination or an election”.  Political signs could also contain messages concerning any public question on the ballot in an election held under state law. Not included in this legislation were political signs that were issued a legal billboard permit by a city, county, or the state of North Dakota (S. L. 2011, Ch. 202).

2012       In July a new federal transportation bill called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) was signed into law. MAP-21 continued the Byways program. However, the discretionary grant program that provided a dedicated source of funds was discontinued. MAP-21 also established the Transportation Alternatives program and changed the types of projects along byways deemed eligible for funding.  

2015       The US Congress passed a five year bill assuring states that federal help would be made available for major transportation projects with the main source of funding coming from current gasoline taxes, Public Law, 114-21.

SERIES
31862 Highway Corridor Board Files

SOURCES
North Dakota Century Code
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws
North Dakota State Parks and Recreation Website
MSS 10148 Paul Ewald Papers
US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Website

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