Illegal I Love NY Signs Could Cost NY $14M In Federal Funding

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The state and federal government are locked in a debate, delaying the removal of 514 “I Love NY” signs lining New York’s highways.

The Governor’s administration received a lot of backlash for these $8.1 million signs – over $15,000 each – which violated several state and federal regulation laws. For instance, the signs fail to provide any navigational information for drivers, a legal necessity for that type of signage.

Additionally, an investigation by the USA TODAY network found that the signs, designed to promote New York-manufactured products, were printed 1,200 miles away – in Arkansas.

The Governor’s administration vowed to remove and replace these illegal signs after the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) withheld $14 million of federal highway funding from New York. The FHWA is giving the state until September 30 to rectify the situation before losing the funding permanently.

In February, state Acting Transportation Commissioner Paul Karas and Thruway Executive Director Matthew Driscoll promised the signs would come down by summer and be replaced a new advertising campaign called “NY has it all!”

Summer is already here, yet the old signs remain firmly planted in the ground – and will stay that way until the FHWA and state reach an agreement.

The NY government is now seeking the FHWA’s approval to once again defy state and federal law by bending highway regulations and experimenting with different types of signage.

Doug Hecox, spokesman for the FHWA, declined USA TODAY’s request to comment on a timeline for the removal of the current “I Love NY” signs. If the September 30 deadline is not met, it will cost New Yorkers $14 million dollars in federal highway funding.