PHOENIX ‒ Thanks to some creative
thinking several years ago at the Arizona
Department of Transportation, those blue
logo signs along state highways are doing
much more than helping you find a restaurant,
gas station or hotel. They’re helping fund
highway improvements while offering businesses
a cost-effective way to promote themselves.
While many states use contractors to manage logo
signs, Arizona is among those with their own
programs. Operated since 2012 through Arizona
Highways magazine, which is part of ADOT,
Grand Canyon State Logo Signs has to date
netted about $5 million for the State Highway Fund.
“We have approached this as a business without
losing the community service aspect that is part of
serving in a public agency,” said Bob Allen, chief
financial officer of the Grand Canyon State Logo
This fiscal year, the State Highway Fund may receive
as much as $2.5 million from logo signs.
Advertising rates, based on average daily traffic
counts, are posted to
areas where demand exceeds the six available
spaces on a sign, businesses are invited to bid for
placements. After the bidding, bid amounts are
posted to let future bidders know what to expect.
The program has been a hit. For example, just three
companies bid for space on one Phoenix area sign
in 2013. In 2016, 11 companies made bids. In 2017,
there were 22. The total amount bid for the sign
grew from $12,400 to $92,770 in just four years.
“Dollar for dollar, the blue freeway sign program is
one of the most-affordable programs there is in the
market,” said Jason Kveton, who operates Culver’s
franchises in the Phoenix area. “I don’t think there
will ever be a year we do not try to stay on the sign.”
And once businesses sign up, they stay. The
program’s retention rate is 95 percent.
Bob Borenstein of Chompie’s Deli and Bakery said
he likes having his company’s name on the signs
and also likes that proceeds go to the State Highway
“It’s great to know that the money we’re spending is
actually going to the construction of new roads or
upkeep of these roads,” Borenstein said.