By Len Ramirez

SAN MATEO COUNTY (KPIX 5) – Drivers say there’s a lot to love about Interstate 280 through San Mateo County, and they put the views at the top of the list.

“I use this highway every day. I’m a courier, I drive up from Gilroy to San Francisco, it’s a lovely drive,” said courier Michael Ealey.

But how’s this for a change of scenery? Like Highway 101, the so-called “world’s most beautiful highway” may soon have billboards for the first time ever.

“No, that would be a bad idea. It would just spoil the view I think,” Ealey told KPIX 5. “Leave the signs for 101.”

Billboards of all shapes and sizes already line Highway 101. So far, much of 280 has remained ad-free. But a proposal is going before the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to place billboards on 280 as a way to generate money without raising taxes.

The county executive estimates almost $8 million could be generated over a 30-year span.

“I thought it was a completely nutty idea and it really needed to be stopped right now,” said Lennie Roberts with the Committee for Green Foothills.

Roberts is leading the charge against the idea.

“(Interstate) 280 is a state scenic highway, and Caltrans has named it the world’s most beautiful freeway, which continues today. And billboards are not allowed,” Roberts said.

At least three supervisors are open to looking at the idea but they were unavailable for comment.

Officials are also looking at proposals to put up additional billboards on Highways 92 and 101.

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