Street sign changes concern local governments
BAKER - Federal highway officials are expected to get an earful during an extended public comment period over new traffic regulations.
Federal regulations for things like street signs are scheduled for 2012, and could cost state and local governments millions to implement.
Currently letters on street signs must be at least four inches tall and in all capital letters; by 2012 they must be at least six inches tall and use upper and lower-case letters, and by 2018 all signs must have reflective letters.
Critics call the measures an unfunded mandate and a waste of taxpayer money, while federal transportation officials say the changes will make the roads safer by causing less distraction.
Some local leaders like Baker Mayor Harold Rideau say now is not the best time for the changes. Tax revenue is down by about 20% in the city, and Mayor Rideau says the money to pay for signs could help with other budget problems.
The U.S. Department of Transportation this week agreed to reopen public comments on the new regulations. Transportation officials say they want to make sure the rules are fair and cost-effective.