Via John Keith comes news from the Boston Courant that the MBTA is beginning to put giant ad banners on the outsides of its stations:
The new banner ads range in size from 20 by 22 feet on the ventilation building across from the Hynes Convention Center to 180 by 20 feet on South Station's southerly facade.
The T is taking advantage of a Supreme Judicial Court ruling earlier this year that local sign ordinances don't apply to the MBTA, so the T is free to do whatever it wants.
The MBTA had sued Somerville and Melrose, which were trying to regulate signs on T property. The municipalities argued that the T's founding legislation exempted it from local regulations only related to its core mission of providing public transit, and that advertising did not fall under that.
The court, however, ruled that the exemption did apply to advertising, because the MBTA uses advertising to help pay for public transportation, so much so that local anti-giant-ad regulations "will have more than a negligible effect on action reasonably related to the MBTA's ability to fulfill its essential function."
To read the SJC opinion, click here, then search on a docket number of 10064 (no permanent URLs, alas).