A draft of proposed rule changes written by the Missouri Department of Transportation would affect requirements a private attraction must meet to participate in the Traffic Generator Signage Program.

If the changes are adopted, at least 16 attractions in Missouri would be affected, including Dickerson Park Zoo/Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Fantastic Caverns and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, which would lose their state highway signage.

Public comments are being accepted until Jan. 15 and the CVB encourages you to suggest MoDot not change the rules for attractions. Or, if they are changed, to grandfather those that have qualified under the current rules. We would, in fact, like to see the rules made more flexible for attractions so more can participate.

Comments can be made at www.modot.org/about/MoDOTProposedRules.htm or mailed to Pam Harlan, Secretary to the Commission, Missouri Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 270, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Comments will be considered in the revision of the proposed rules.

The CVB is opposed to the changes for a variety of reasons, including the negative impact they would have on attendance at attractions and sales tax revenue. Besides the local impact, the state is dependent on sales tax revenue and MoDot is dependent on a sales tax on gasoline, making the proposed recommendations for attractions counterproductive to both.

The proposed changes include eligibility for tourist-oriented signage. Eligibility would include a minimum annual attendance of 1 million; open at least four hours per day at least five days per week, one of which is a Saturday or Sunday, and be fully operative and open to the public a minimum of three months each year. They also must have public restroom facilities and sufficient on-premise parking.

Attractions operated by state and federal agencies are required to meet the rules except for the annual attendance requirement.

The official section and title that would be changed is 7 CSR 10-17.060 Requirements for Traffic Generators. The final rules take effect in June 2015.

Click here to view he proposed rules and click here to view the current rules.