Tag Archives: HELP

Bill Goes to Gov — Sell an Ad, Build a Road

The state Department of Transportation will sell advertising to help raise money for road construction and maintenance under two bills sent to the governor Monday.
One measure, SB31, allows sales of advertising signs on the HELP trucks operated by DOT to help motorists on the Interstate highway system.
The other, SB32, calls for sale of 15-second commercials on DOT’s “511” system, which allows callers to check traffic conditions around the state with a phone call.
Legislative staff estimates the HELP ads will generate $324,000 per year and the 511 commercials $400,000. Sponsors Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, say the totals could be more. All revenue, less a fee to contractors who handle the advertising, is earmarked for the state’s Highway Fund, which pays for road construction and maintenance.
The bills passed back-to-back on Monday evening; first in the Senate, then in the House. They now go to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature.
Both bills prohibit ads that involve alcohol, tobacco, “adult-oriented services” or political campaigns.
Those criticizing the bills questioned the overall propriety of putting ads on a taxpayer-funded service and some questioned whether ads on HELP trucks could distract motorists and cause an accident.
Sponsors say the ads offer a means of supplementing the road construction money without a tax increase.
The HELP bill passed the House 68-23 and the Senate 26-5. The 511 bill cleared the House 66-27 and the Senate 26-4.

‘This State Government Function Brought to You By….’

Persons calling the state’s “511” system to check traffic conditions could soon be hearing a commercial before they get information under a bill approved by House and Senate committees.
The bill, HB223, won unanimous approval of the House and Senate Transportation Committees and is now before the Finance Committee of both bodies.. Legislative staff estimates enactment of the bill would produce $400,000 per year in new revenue from the commercials – less an estimated $50,000 to a private contractor handling the advertising.
Another bill, HB224, authorizes the Department of Transportation to put ads on its 72 “HELP trucks,” which provide assistance to motorists. It, too, has won unanimous approval of the transportation committees and awaits finance committee actions.
The HELP truck ads are projected to produce $324,000 per year in revenue, again less $50,000 to a private contractor dealing with advertisers.
Both bills are sponsored by House Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville.
Under amendments, the ads cannot be for alcoholic beverages, “adult-oriented establishments,” political candidates and political causes or anything illegal.