Last year, members of the Martinez City Council were giddy over the possibilities of a proposed LED billboard that the CBS group promised to install in exchange for swapping out the present, old-school billboard on I-680.
The reasons for their giddiness were several: it presented a golden opportunity to advertise various city functions and events, and it was going to rake in a portion of the revenue that CBS would glean from the other, for-profit ads that would run there.
But alas, the best-laid plans, etc. CBS has hit a bureaucratic snag with the California Department of Transportation. The land where the company wanted to place the sign is not available, and Caltrans is not happy about the alternatives. Meanwhile, Caltrans is also in talks with CBS over other billboards around the county, city officals said, and it is unlikely that the new LED billboad, which will change ads very few seconds, will be lighting up commuter eyeballs any time this year.
The delay means more than high-tech disappointment. There's a financial bite as well. City officials were looking for as much as $240,000 a year for its portion of the advertising pie. To that end, according to the Contra Costa Times, the city had projected receiving $62,500 in billboard revenue this year.
That deficit, along with flattened property tax revenue and another round of state pickpocketing, in the form of vehicle license fees, has left Martinez about $51,000 short of its expected revenues.