The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims to the effect that Virginia’s statutory scheme governing signs placed “within the limits of” highways is unconstitutional.
The plaintiff alleges that the Sign Statutes violate its First Amendment right to free speech by imposing a content-based restriction on speech, not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest. But amendments enacted in April 2018 substantially weaken this argument. The single remaining subsection not pertaining only to government speech is content-neutral. By exempting signs that are “securely affixed to a public transit passenger shelter,” it is a regulation of the place or manner of speech, not of its content.
The Sign Statutes also serve significant governmental interests, including driver safety and aesthetic considerations on the highways. The Sign Statutes operate to keep the highways free of visual clutter, distracting images, and physical hazards, and they do so more effectively than plausible alternatives.
Judgment entered for the defendants.