Signs and more signs

First it was the referendum supporters. Then the opponents struck back. Now, the folks at Virginia Department of Transportation are left with a mess along Northern Virginia roadsides and highway medians.

Signs instructing motorists to vote “Yes” or vote “No” for the Northern Virginia sales tax referendum are littering our highways, intersections and on ramps. VDOT is having a tough time keeping up the pace. Signs, political or otherwise, or not allowed in highway medians, along the side of the road, tacked to road signs are within any state right-of-way.

It seems that partisans from both sides of the sales tax issue are getting their message out to motorists by placing their signs along county roads. After all, who’s more interested in a road tax than those who drive to work each day? It looks as if the “Yes” folks were quick out of the gate by placing their signs illegally along major roadways and near exits leading to commuter lots throughout Northern Virginia. Some of the “No” folks have tried to make up the sign deficit by placing illegal signs along the Prince William Parkway and at other strategic points. But those in the “Yes” camp have a distinct advantage in roadside sign saturation.

Of course, it’s impossible for VDOT workers to gather up all these illegal signs because of the pure number of them. VDOT and Prince William County road crews have this authority. And they could both be doing a better job.

Conspiracy theorists contend that some with the state are hesitant to pick up the “Yes” signs because they want more money from a referendum that could supply $5 billion in extra transportation spending over the next two decades. Others say that the VDOT work crews originally tasked with cleaning up illegal roadside signs were laid off during recent state budget cuts and only an extra half penny in sales tax revenue will restore funding to the highway sign patrol.

To give credit where credit is due, Prince William County maintains cleaner (sign free) roadsides than Fairfax where highway medians are a sea of poster board signs in various states of decay. Just because our local highways are cleaner than those in Fairfax, however, doesn’t mean we don’t have a sign problem.

If things get too bad, we may suggest that local citizens take the law into their own hands. Just as residents are applauded for cleaning up trash along “Adopt-a-Highway” roadsides, removing illegal political signs is a deed that is also appreciated. Remove the signs and then deposit them at the closest VDOT office where they can be disposed of properly.

Disclaimer: The Manassas Journal Messenger, Potomac News and Media General are not responsible for those injured or attacked by pro or anti referendum forces while trying to remove illegal highway road signs.

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