A fight is brewing between city, state, county and the feds over “murals” and digital outdoor signange in Miami.

The rules are different depending upon which roadway the signs face. I-95 is a federal highway as is Biscayne Boulevard (US-1), so federal rules apply. The Florida Department of Transportation enforces federal rules in Florida. Rules allow a “sign” to advertise goods and services available only at that location. A “billboard,” on the other hand, advertises goods and services available elsewhere. Running paid ads on the digital display changes the AA Arena banner from a sign to a billboard, and it is larger than federal billboard regulations allow.

So now FDOT, on behalf of the feds, is ordering the Miami Heat to take down their digital billboard on the AA Arena. In addition, those 35 “permitted” building wraps throughout downtown… they have been cited too. Previously, the I-95 building wraps and ad-hoc billboards were ordered down by the Third District Court of Appeals.

So, while the city and county are relying on these ads to generate millions of dollars in fee & permit income, the state and the feds are declaring them illegal. Think of it this way… every time you drive by the AA Arena, a little tiny sliver of cash is deposited in the City of Miami general fund. And that reduces the amount of taxes the city must levy. So, without the advertising signs, how will the city and county make up for that lost revenue?