The rules are part of a tangle of regulations included in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
The 800-plus page book tells local governments they:
-- Should increase the size of the letters on street signs from the current 4 inches to 6 inches on all roads with speed limits over 25 miles per hour. The target date for this to be completed is January 2012.
-- Install signs with new reflective letters more visible at night by January 2018.
-- And whenever street name signs are changed for any reason, they can no longer be in ALL CAPS.
In Milwaukee this will cost the cash-strapped city nearly $2 million -- double the city's entire annual for traffic control.
In Dinwiddie County, Virginia -- with lots of roads but not many people -- the cost comes to about $10 for every man, woman and child.