A Sign of Things to Come
Rhode Islanders should expect more of this:
It may be a sign of a bad economy, but some businesses are balking at a plan to charge fees for placing business logos on the blue highway signs at exits for food, gas and lodging. …
The $1,200 per-sign fee, which went into effect on Nov.4, applies to any business posting a logo on a highway sign; state transportation officials have since proposed a reduced rate of $300 a year per sign for the 72 businesses that already have permits to post their logos on the highway signs, according to Rocchio.
The businesses paid to install the signs, and now the Dept. of Transportation wants them to pay fees (1) just in case they are knocked down and (2) to hire enforcement bureaucrats to catch any such businesses that aren’t complying with regulations having to do with handicap access and public availability of bathrooms and phones. In short, it’s another way for the government of Rhode Island to squeeze benefits.
DOT Managing Engineer Robert Rocchio magnanimously points out that “no state or federal regulation requires” the signs to exist (in the Projo paraphrase), and the new fee matches that charged in Massachusetts. Rocchio misses the point: Each state must figure out its mixture of charges and benefits, and the relevant question at any given point is which direction it’s heading. This is a new imposition on productive Rhode Islanders who need to lure every through-state driver they can to boost our local economy.
As I began by saying, we should expect more policies like this. Rhode Island’s “leaders” have no new ideas, and Rhode Islanders keep electing them to office.