Public transit joins business of political advertising - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Public transit joins business of political advertising

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- This is shaping up to be arguably one of the biggest political seasons for Arkansas in some time, and there will be millions spent on advertising.

Everybody wants some of that money and public transit in central Arkansas is no exception.

Central Arkansas Transit Authority gets funding from federal, state and local tax dollars. Those contributions essentially mean many residents around the area are the ones paying for the service.

Common signage on public transit in central Arkansas is the destination and public advertisements, but now political candidates are looking to promote their brand by buying advertising on a route that tax payers are helping fund.

"It plays a large role. We look at local funding to spread load a lot of our financial support, so we look to advertisement as part of our means to remain financially stable," said CATA's director of public engagement Jason Smedley.

For as little as $120 a month, a candidate can have their face traveling all about town on one of the nearly 60 public transit buses, or even as cheap as $11 to be placed on the inside.

Since tax payers are paying for this service to continue, political ads on the vehicles may be viewed as a conflict of interest, but Smedley said there's no bias by its group since the space is open to all.

"Not in our regard because we look at it as because any politician can put in a request for it, or anyone interested in political office. We leave our doors open to anyone to pursue an interest in anyone," he added.


The transit system outsources the advertising, but reserves the right to accept or reject any ads that are submitted.