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News Release
Cravaack introduces bill to eliminate federal sign brightness mandate

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Congressman Chip Cravaack (MN-8) introduced H.R. 2442, the Rural County Mandate Relief Act. The bill would eliminate the federal mandate that states and local municipalities must keep their road and street signs bright enough to meet federal government brightness standards, allowing them to decide when signs are replaced.

“State and local governments are still struggling under the weight of lower revenues brought on by the recent recession,” said Cravaack. “Any mandate from Washington forcing municipalities to unnecessarily replace perfectly adequate street signs hurts their ability to affectively spend scarce taxpayer dollars elsewhere. State and local governments are perfectly capable of deciding when their signs need to be replaced and how best to pay for any new signs.”

The bill has the support of numerous mayors and council members across the 8th District. One such legislator, Steve Biondich, an Aurora City Councilman said H.R. 2442 “is exactly what we need … getting rid of silly unfunded mandates.” Based on a conservative estimate, state and local municipalities will be forced to spend at least $37.5 million over the next ten years to meet the current federal mandate on sign brightness.

Congressman Cravaack serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – where he is vice chair of the Aviation Subcommittee – the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.

35 Comments

Bret

about 10 years ago

Wow!  Oberstar never used his position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to do anything as awesome as this!  Dangerously blowing through unseen stop signs at night is my definition of freedom plus liberty! (Sarcasm very much intended).

dbb

about 10 years ago

The reason that standard exists is to ensure that traffic control signs are kept in good repair so as to be visible to drivers. It is a safety requirement, not a meaningless unfunded mandate. 

I wonder what the financial hit (I'd talk morality, but let's face it, money is all that counts) will be for the first city with a traffic fatality at an intersection with signs found not to meet the federal standard.

Lojasmo

about 10 years ago

Clearly, eliminating traffic control sighs altogether would save even more precious stolen tax moneez.  Doooo eeeet!

Tom

about 10 years ago

Let's just remove those socialist speed limits too.  Making driving (the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis) safe is such a burden, financially and emotionally, on our citizens and the government.  Let's also remove all penalties for drunken driving and reckless driving.  By making these activities illegal, the government has intruded into our lives by telling us how we have to drive.  States, counties, and cities should no longer be required to provide lighting for our roads, highways, and interstates either, as it comes at an added expense.  Instead, these services should be completely privatized.  Finally, I propose that we leave it up to individuals to decide what side of the road they want to drive on, as it is socialist to require people to drive on the left.

Tom

about 10 years ago

Lojasmo, thanks....I forgot that one.  It's unconstitutional for the government to force us to stop at stop signs and red lights!

OGDuluthian

about 10 years ago

Typical overreaction (above posts) to a common sense way to spend tax dollars and eliminate wasteful spending. No where does this bill say that the traffic signs will be kept in poor condition. The previous federal mandate required sign replacement based on installation date, not the actual condition of the sign. A large portion of signs were being replaced when they were perfectly O.K. My father worked for MNDOT for 40 years and used to joke about how many signs were tossed out and they were in great condition.

Timk

about 10 years ago

The repubs also like to laugh about all the perfectly good humans they throw away.

Tom

about 10 years ago

So OGDuluthian, who is going to decide when the sign is in bad enough condition to have it replaced?  Are we going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to hire sign inspectors to go around and tell state and local governments which signs need to be replaced?  If not, most governments won't bother to replace signs that are in desperate need of replacement due to finances and laziness (which is probably why the law exists in the first place).

Lojasmo

about 10 years ago

OGD:  objects do not deteriorate reliably with environmental exposure?

Perhaps we can create a governmental body to create a subjective criteria for sign quality, and then develop a team of government employees to inspect each sign, individually, on a semi-annual basis, in order to determine the necessity for replacement of each sign.

Yup.  That is a workable plan.

Or we replace the signs on a schedule.

ETA: beaten by Tom.

@ndy

about 10 years ago

I dislike Cravaack as much as most liberal-leaning folks, and I find it rather humorous to know that his staff, and likely that of the Transportation Committee, spent any amount of time researching and drafting such legislation considering the endless list of far more worthy priorities. But, I think state departments of transportation, as authorized by their state legislatures, county road departments, municipalities, etc. are perfectly capable of deciding whether or not their street signs adequately meet the needs of first responders (for example).

I'm pretty partisan when it comes to some issues, but seriously folks, we're talking about road signs. If people don't think the road signs in their area are in working condition, they can act by contacting their city or county officials, the state DoT, etc. Local government entities are far more responsive than the federal government, generally speaking, especially regarding minor traffic issues. Currently, if your street sign gets bent in half by a snow plow, who do you call? The federal government? I doubt it. You call the city (or equivalent entity) because they are responsible enough (generally speaking) to fix the problem.

Chris

about 10 years ago

Don't road signs include important things like Stop Signs?

And don't state and local people respond quickly to failures in meeting federal standards (which might lose them money, like with the overflowing sewers in Duluth).

Nick

about 10 years ago

Dems resent right-wingers who blast anything coming from the left side of the aisle.  Why is it OK to do the same?  Shredding Cravaak over road signs looks closed minded.  

This is a small bill about something few had an opinion about until it was introduced by a Republican.  Had Oberstar introduced the bill, I think some of the comments would be different or never posted in the first place.

Spy1

about 10 years ago

You can compare and make your assessment in real time Nick. This from the Star Tribune today:
The U.S. House passed a $650 billion Pentagon spending bill Friday that includes a measure by Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum cutting nearly $125 million for military bands.
 
Even so, McCollum and fellow Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison were among 75 Democrats and 12 Republicans who voted against the bill, which funds war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
The final vote was 336-87.
 
The bands amendment was approved Thursday by a vote of 226-201, limiting spending to $200 million for fiscal year 2012.
 
"At a time when emergency nutritional support is being cut for hungry infants and women and other painful cuts to vulnerable Americans, spending more than $200 million on military bands is an extra America cannot afford," McCollum said.
 
Another McCollum measure that would have curbed military sponsorships in NASCAR races did not pass muster in the House. Republicans portrayed the racing sponsorships as a valuable recruiting tool.
 
So far, there is no similar Senate provision to cut spending on military bands, which was offered as a deficit-reduction measure.

Tom

about 10 years ago

"Had Oberstar introduced the bill, I think some of the comments would be different or never posted in the first place."

That's like saying, "Had Republicans suddenly decided to accept scientific facts and began enacting legislation to stop global warming..."

Let's stick to reality here.  If Jim Oberstar was still serving in the house, he never would have introduced this bill, so your argument is kind of pointless.

Matilda

about 10 years ago

Fantastic, those cost-cutting Republicans are making the changes that COUNT!!

Let's not spend $37m in 10 years (which is an absolutely piddling sum for local and state Gov't) and instead, buy another couple hundred HumVees to send to Afghanistan and blow up. Or maybe we could build a few bridges in Iraq, instead? We have priorities you understand.

Nick

about 10 years ago

My (poorly stated) point was frustration over polarized politics.  Some posters' passion for road signs seemed extra frothy and I think it's because of the bill's author:  It's not like there's a vibrant thread where PDDers talk road sign brightness.  Piling on a politician over road sign brightness seemed about as polarized as politics gets.

dbb

about 10 years ago

I think the real thrust is that he's being piled on for choosing to focus on road sign brightness as his signature issue.

Claire

about 10 years ago

What HAS Congressman Cravacck done that's actually substantial? Seems like he's a lot of noise, but I don't see all the great things he promised before the election. And I am still wondering about all those cars with Canadian plates at St. Luke's...

OGDulutian

about 10 years ago

Congressman Cravacckhas done more meaningful work for his district in the pas 6 months than Jim Oberstar ever did. JMHO

B-man

about 10 years ago

Hey OGDulutian, do you have an example? I Googled "Cravaack accomplishments" and got nothing.  

I would like to know what he is working on because his PR office is crappy.

Tom

about 10 years ago

Nick, frankly, I have never even thought about the politics of sign brightness before yesterday, and I think it's safe to say the same about everyone else here too.  But I personally take in an interest in such activities as seeing road signs and not dying in traffic accidents.  Also, it seems odd that he thinks he's going to fix the economy by deregulating sign brightness.

Lojasmo

about 10 years ago

Craavack (autocorrect: drawback) has accomplished being a republican,  in OGD's mind, that is something, I guess.

The Big E

about 10 years ago

Raymond Cravaack's first piece of legislation (turned major focus of first term) was an effort to eliminate federal funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace (also a couple tens of millions of dollars of utterly wasted money).  So perhaps he can't do math, and hopes you can't either.

Matilda

about 10 years ago

jmho jmho, ever so H, chip is a true patriot.

zra

about 10 years ago

oh, for geez.

Timk

about 10 years ago

I agree with Matilda. I also feel that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

zra

about 10 years ago

I thought prayer was the last refuge of the scoundrel.

dbrewing

about 10 years ago

All of this in Duluth, the city of uncontrolled intersections.

Baci

about 10 years ago

Patriotism is sacrifice for the greater good, not insuring liberty for corporate greed. Sacrifice in an evolved society means contributing for the common good. Taxes! Don't cut money, attack illogical and wasteful spending. *cough* *cough* Like continued funding of the military industrial complex!

OGDuluthian

about 10 years ago

It is so refreshing to banter with all of you "mental heavyweights" when you lob me softballs and show me just how uninformed and unintelligent most Duluthians when it comes to good/bad politicians. Finally we have one representing our district that actually wants to make decisions that will help, and most want to trash him before he even gets started. We've all seen where our previous Congressman got us ... do you really want more of that? Give Chip one term and then compare apples to apples.

zra

about 10 years ago

You puny weaklings are no match for my personal opinions! Cower before my political leanings!

Yawn.

Get over yourself, dude.

B-man

about 10 years ago

OK one more time- OGDuluthian- please give me some specifics that you are talking about.  

Otherwise you are just mumbling jibba jabba. Like a little dog barking at passersby from behind a fence.

What has Cravaak done that is benefiting our region?

Yes, we have all seen where our previous congressman got us, it is called better off than many districts in our state.  

Job creation, economic stability, infrastructure contracts, and continued wildlife protection are all results of Oberstar's time in office.  What is it that you are so happy about Cravaak getting done?

Ruthie

about 10 years ago

Well that will help the national debt and help MN settle it's budget!!! Who cares if people run into each other because they can't see the sign ... public safety be damned!

SlimPickins

about 10 years ago

I think the whole point behind this legislation is to get rid of baseless federal government regulation of issues that can and should be handled at a much more local level.  And if you think every road sign weathers evenly, compare a five year old stop sign facing south with one facing north.  Big difference.  Seeing as the important issues are tied up in gridlock, our congressman might as well try to get rid of stupid regulations such as this one.

B-man

about 10 years ago

@SlimPickins  When you say "at a much more local level" do you mean city/ county government?  Or do you think that individual citizens will be responsible to assess and change out traffic signs?

The proposal is only to change the guideline in this district.  That seems pretty local.

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