The United States state of New York was recently fined $14 million in federal highway funds after installing 514 signs on major roadways and refusing to remove them, even after being given several warnings to take them down.
What’s So Bad About Those 514 Signs? Signs Are Everywhere, Right?
Signs are, in fact, everywhere. In terms of United States use of signs on roadways, their purpose is to inform drivers of nearby roadways, cities, and regions, rather than anything else signs could be used for.
For several years, the United States federal government has expressed concerns regarding blue “I Love NY” signs’ legality and safety. Intended to draw the attention of passerby, authorities believed they had potential to take drivers’ attention away from roadways, and could increase the rate of automobile accidents.
The federal government has plenty of laws and guidelines in place regarding what can and can’t be placed on highways throughout the nation. Certain fonts, images, and colors aren’t allowed to be displayed on highway signage, something the blue “I Love NY” signs didn’t operate in accordance with.
Arguably the most notable violation is the promotion of a mobile phone application and a state-related website’s URL address. Downloading that app or visiting such a site could encourage drivers to view them on their mobile devices while driving, which is unarguably a bad idea.
And What About The $14 Million?
The FHA, or Federal Highway Administration, was responsible for taking away $14 million in funds to be used on the state’s highways. The action was taken just a few days ago.
One of many members of the United States’ “alphabet soup,” the FHA felt docking the state of $14 million was necessary because New York state officials refused to take such signs down and replace them with ones approved by the authority.
New York State Officials Saw Key Benefits
New York state officials stated that the signs were part of a long, successful advertising campaign to promote tourism within the state. Executive Director of Thruway Authority Matthew Driscoll and Transportation Commissioner Paul Karas claimed the signs were a resounding success, and instilled a drive in travelers to “visit mom-and-pop restaurants, shops, and historic destinations.”
As long as the signs are taken down by September, New York will receive its $14 million in highway funding back.
The signs first went up in 2016, within initial pieces going up six months after the Federal Highway Administration prohibited their construction. Go figure.