DETROIT (AP) – A massive marquee built in downtown Detroit as part of a $300 million overhaul of Cobo Center can’t be used for commercial advertising.

Columnist Daniel Howes with The Detroit News reports the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 designates Woodward Avenue a “national scenic byway” and if the sign is used for ads the state risks losing as much as $100 million in annual federal highway funds.

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The marquee over Jefferson Avenue is several blocks from Woodward, but it’s visible from the intersection where Woodward stops.

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Patrick Bero, CEO of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, says it’s “ridiculous.” The restriction cuts into potential marketing revenue.

Matt DeLong, administrator of the development services division of the Michigan Department of Transportation, says the rules were known before the sign was built.

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