The deadline for New York State to take down the illegal “I Love NY” highway tourism signs, extended to September 30, is fast approaching. If the 500-plus signs installed from Long Island to Buffalo aren’t removed by this date the state will lose out on $14 million in funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The FHWA says the signs don’t meet regulations, posing a threat distraction to drivers traveling on the highway. According to the Associated Press, Cuomo and New York’s transportation department claim there’s no evidence the big, blue “I Love NY” signs have contributed to any accidents.
When asked about the signs, the New York State Department of Transportation was not clear about removing the signs and instead issued this statement: “We are in ongoing discussions with FHWA and fully expect to have a mutually beneficial agreement in place before the September deadline,” says DOT Director of Communications Joseph Morrissey.
The dispute has been ongoing since 2013, when the FHWA denied New York’s request to put up an earlier version of the sign. The following year, Cuomo’s administration put them up anyway as part of a campaign to boost the state’s $100 billion tourism industry, leading the federal administration to send letters stating the signage doesn’t follow federal or state law.
The state says it spent $8.1 million to print and place the signs.