141.8 Sponsorship Programs

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Sponsorship opportunities benefit the traveling public with an improved transportation system by providing flexibility for public agencies to pursue innovative sources of financing for maintenance and construction activities and other highway-related services. Sponsorship programs allow public agencies to provide services critical to enhancing the safety and efficiency of the nation’s highway system that might not otherwise be feasible. As a result, sponsorship programs are growing in popularity and are becoming a significant opportunity for highway agencies to generate critical support needed to build, operate and maintain key facilities and services. These services include, but are not limited to, adopt-a-highway litter removal, maintenance of a parkway or an interchange, rest area operation and maintenance, other highway maintenance or beautification sponsorship programs, traveler information services and emergency service patrols.

One of the most common ways for highway agencies to recognize the support provided by sponsors is through acknowledgement signs. In addition, a number of other options to recognize sponsors include, but are not limited to, acknowledgement on in-vehicle transponders, service patrol vehicles, maintenance vehicles, outreach and educational materials, internet web sites, telephone messages (such as those of 5-1-1 systems) and mobile applications.

The following policy applies to sponsorship programs on all highways owned and maintained by MoDOT:

  • Signs may be used to acknowledge highway-related services under both corporate and volunteer sponsorship programs. Signing shall not be used in an advertising fashion, such as including information such as sponsor telephone numbers, internet addresses, or directional information.
  • The use of highway right of way for advertising purposes is not allowed. Advertising within building facilities may be allowed as provided in 23 CFR 752.
  • Sponsorship agreements may allow sponsors to provide products, services, or monetary contributions and can be of any duration. These agreements should include provisions for maintenance and removal of physical elements after the agreement expires or the sponsor withdraws.
  • Sponsorship agreements may be applicable to a site, a corridor or a specific highway operation. If the sponsor is making a monetary contribution, MoDOT will identify specific sites, corridors or operations supported by the monetary contribution in the sponsorship agreement.
  • Monetary contributions received under sponsorship agreements shall be spent for highway purposes.
  • Sponsorship agreements involving the Interstate highway system shall be approved by the FHWA Division Administrator prior to execution.

141.8.1 Compliance with Applicable Laws

When developing sponsorship programs and agreements, it is important to comply with any applicable laws. Specifically, any sponsorship programs MoDOT participates in must comply with state laws prohibiting discrimination based on the grounds of race, color, religion, creed, sex, disability, national origin, age or ancestry of any individual as well as any other applicable laws. The development of any sponsorship programs shall be closely coordinated with MoDOT’s Chief Counsel’s Office to ensure the program is in compliance with applicable laws.

141.8.2 Participation of Sponsors

The participation of sponsors in various sponsorship programs may vary based on several factors including, but not limited to, the type of highway service being provided, fees for program participation, net benefit to the public and economic sustainability of the program or services being provided.

Because operation and the measure of success may vary by the type of sponsored program, specific guidelines for the participation of sponsors shall be developed and enforced by the entity responsible for procuring sponsorships and collecting any products or monetary contributions.

In many cases, the entity responsible for procuring sponsorships and collecting products or monetary contributions will be a contractor hired by MoDOT to administer the program or highway-related service. In this scenario, it shall be the sole responsibility of the contractor to solicit, approve, reject and monitor the participation of any sponsors for the program. Likewise, it shall be the sole responsibility of the contractor to determine whether a specific sponsor’s participation supports the contractor’s approved business model as well as the long-term economic sustainability of the program. The contractor shall develop and maintain specific guidelines for program participation consistent with the policies set forth herein including, if deemed necessary by the contractor, industries or services prohibited from sponsorship participation. As a courtesy, the contractor shall continuously communicate with MoDOT regarding the solicitation, procurement and compliance of program sponsors.

141.8.3 Termination

Any sponsorship agreement developed shall include a termination clause giving MoDOT the right to end such agreement at any time based on any of the following:

  • Safety concerns.
  • Interference with the free and safe flow of traffic.
  • A determination that the sponsorship agreement or acknowledgement is not in the public interest.

141.8.4 Revenue Generation

In many cases, the participation of sponsors within a sponsorship program includes monetary contributions to either MoDOT or MoDOT’s contractor. In the event that monetary contributions are distributed to a contractor hired to administer the program on behalf of MoDOT, the contractor shall fully disclose to MoDOT the frequency and amount of any monetary contributions received for sponsorship participation. The contractor shall continuously communicate with MoDOT regarding all monetary contributions received as well as all contractor costs associated with program administration. Agreements shall also contain provisions for revenue-sharing between the contractor and MoDOT, if applicable.

141.8.5 Use of Funds Generated

All monetary contributions received by MoDOT under a sponsorship agreement for services on facilities shall be used for highway purposes only.

141.8.6 Acknowledgment Signs

All acknowledgment signs shall meet all design and placement guidelines as prescribed in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD); must be placed near the site(s) being sponsored; must be placed at least one (1) mile apart from each other if facing in the same direction and associated with the same sponsorship program; and should remain in place only for the duration of the agreement.

For sponsorship of rest areas, one acknowledgement sign for each direction of travel may be installed on the mainline. Additional acknowledgement signs may be placed on the rest area grounds as well as within facilities, provided the sign legends are not visible to highway mainline traffic and do not pose safety risks to rest area users.

For sponsorship of travel service programs that are not site-specific, such as 5-1-1 traveler information or emergency service patrols, an acknowledgement plaque may be mounted in the same sign assembly below the general service signs for these programs.

Acknowledgement plaques shall not exceed the lesser of one-third of the area of the general service sign below which it is mounted or 24 sq. feet.