Once a rare sight, electronic billboards that flash new ads every few seconds have sprouted up by the hundreds along California freeways in recent years, much to the alarm of environmentalists and traffic-safety experts.
In the nearly eight years since Jerry Brown was elected governor, his administration has nearly tripled the number of commercial digital signs permitted along highways, from 125 to 366, records show.
Now the Brown administration thinks California can make a profit, sending lawmakers a report that says it is “feasible” to allow commercial ads on state-operated electronic message signs along freeways in a test program that it estimates would bring in millions of dollars.
If successful, the pilot program could lead to ads for commercial products on many of the 904 state-operated message signs that currently are limited to flashing traffic information, road hazard warnings and Amber alerts on abducted children, according to a feasibility study sent by the California Department of Transportation.
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