ALBANY — It’s doable to like New York an excessive amount of.
Federal officers confirmed little affection for Gov. Cuomo’s “I Love NY” indicators Thursday, slapping the state with $14 million penalty for erecting them alongside roadsides.
In a letter to state transportation officers, the Federal Freeway Administration stated 1% of the cash New York stands to obtain below a federal block grant program was being withheld due to the greater than 500 indicators, which federal officers declare are an pointless distraction to drivers and create security hazards.
“Along with the non-compliance points…every of those indicators is on massive helps and buildings which create obstructions inside the roadside atmosphere that might pose security dangers,” Brandye Hendrickson, appearing FHWA administrator wrote within the letter.
“Due to the set up of greater than 500 non-compliant indicators and repeated notification to take away these installations, the FHWA will assess preliminary penalties for non-compliance efficient instantly,” Hendrickson continued.
Until the indicators are eliminated by Sept. 30, the state would forfeit the funds, the letter acknowledged.
Cuomo administration officers argue the indicators don’t characterize a security hazard and supply helpful info to drivers.
Joseph Morissey, a spokesman for the state Division of Transportation, downplayed the Freeway Administration’s letter, saying it “is a part of the dialogue course of and by no means represents the tip of the dialogue. FHWA has been clear that any monetary penalty can be reinstated as soon as the 2 events come to a decision.”
The letter marked the most recent growth in a long-running dispute between the Cuomo administration and the federal authorities over the indicators.
In 2013, federal freeway officers denied a Cuomo administration request to put the tourism indicators alongside the Thruway and different roadways.
Federal officers claimed the indicators supplied info — together with promotions for state tourism packages — that was of little use to motorists and used fonts and graphics that transcend what’s allowed below federal and state regulation.
Cuomo ignored the denial and unveiled the blue-and-white freeway indicators in 2014, touting them as a solution to increase tourism across the state.
“We’re going to launch a complete new signage marketing campaign on our roads selling the property of New York,” Cuomo stated throughout his 2014 State of the State Tackle.
The indicators included promotions for such state tourism campaigns as The Path By means of Historical past marketing campaign, the I Love New York attraction marketing campaign and the Style NY meals and drinks marketing campaign.
The Cuomo administration has spent $eight.1 million putting in the indicators, in line with the USA TODAY Community, which first reported the dispute over the indicators and located that the state paid contractors extra time and used emergency contracts to make sure the indicators have been in place by the July four, 2016 vacation.
“Governor Cuomo fought the regulation along with his promotional highway indicators, and the regulation received,” the conservative-leaning Reclaim New York Initiative stated in a press release. “Sadly, it’s New Yorkers who will possible pay the worth.”
New York State Tourism Trade Affiliation President Jill Delaney, nonetheless, defended the indicators.
“Tourism generates lots of of billions of for New York, and these indicators assist deliver new guests to upstate sights and increase native economies,” Delaney stated. “We’re hopeful that the 2 events will come to an settlement on signage that promotes our tourism property whereas protecting driver security in thoughts.”