Virginia First State to Sell Naming Rights to Roads
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Having become the first state to sell off the naming rights of its rest stops, Virginia is going one step further by naming roads and bridges after anyone ponying up the necessary cash.
State officials are still deciding how much it will cost a company or organization to name a highway. They also have to decide whether wealthy individuals will be able to partake in the infrastructure sponsoring.
Critics blasted the idea, saying it represents another step in the over-commercialization of American public space.
“It’s evidence of a decline in our values when we start naming public spaces and public entities after corporations instead of national heroes or historical figures,” Elizabeth Ben-Ishai of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, told BBC News Magazine. “The state acting as a marketer, working on behalf of these corporate interests, is a distasteful trend. It undermines the value of public space.”
Virginia transportation officials estimate the program will raise about $109 million, which isn’t that much money considering the state’s highway budget is $3.2 billion.
Already, one group has stepped up to offer to sponsor a road. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wants to name a Virginia road “Spay Today Way.”
Last year, Virginia decided to sell the naming rights to its 42 rest stops and welcome centers to help cover the $20 million in annual operating and maintenance costs.
To Learn More:
Why Would Anyone Buy Naming Rights to a Highway? (by Daniel Nasaw, BBC News Magazine)
PETA is First To Propose Naming Virginia Road (by Liz Essley, Washington Examiner)
Virginia First State to Sell Naming Rights to Rest Stops (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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