Congress passed the Highway Beautification Act to control and limit signs along the interstate and primary highways which allows the traveling public to enjoy the nation's scenic beauty.
The Montana Legislature also enacted laws consistent with the federal act. Montana Department of
Transportation (MDT) is responsible for enforcing these laws, and failure to do so could jeopardize
millions of dollars in highway construction funds.
The State of Montana agreed to provide "effective control" of outdoor advertising by establishing a sign permit system; maintenance of an inventory of all permitted signs, and periodic surveillance of the controlled routes to discover unlawful signs and monitor other signs as required by state law.
In order to inventory and control signs along the highway, permits are issued to the sign owner and a permit plate must be attached to the sign. The law requires MDT to charge both an application fee for the initial application and to assess a fee after the permit is issued. The initial application fee is non-refundable even if the permit can't be issued.