The MBTA might have to get its outdoor advertisements approved by cities and towns if a proposed budget measure passes through the state Senate.
Supporters of the provision, like Congressman Michael Capuano, say the T should have to get its ads approved according to local zoning laws. The agency is currently exempt.
“I think that the T should have the ability to advertise, and they should be able to do it in a reasonable way, but they should be subject to the same rules as everybody else,” said Capuano during an appearance on Boston Public Radio Thursday.
The proposed change has already passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the state budget, but it would need support from the state Senate and Gov. Charlie Baker to become law.
The MBTA has resisted the proposed change, saying it could hurt revenue and force the agency to raise fares.
“They look at it as a revenue source,” Capuano said. “At the same time, [advertisements] do impact the quality of life, and I do think that society, through their governments, should have a say in the matter.”
This issue took on special significance for advocates when the T wanted to install large television-like screens at the Park Street and Arlington stations to show advertisements earlier this year.
“If you wanted to put a billboard anyplace else, you have to go through a rigorous process,” Capuano said. “I think those are reasonable regulations that the private companies live up to. I don’t know why the T would be exempted — or any other agency.”
Congressman Michael Capuano is a Democrat representing the 7th district. To hear his interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.