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Federal officials urge Governor Cuomo to take down "I Love NY" signs

August 01, 2018 10:02 PM

The battle over the "I Love NY" signs rages on. 

Federal lawmakers are now stepping in to try and force Governor Andrew Cuomo to take them down. 

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News10NBC has been investigating the biter back and forth between NYS and the Federal Highway Administration over the signs which line our highways. 

The feds say the signs are illegal and need to come down by the end of September.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke tried to ask Governor Cuomo whether he planned to meet that deadline when he was in Rochester on Wednesday for an invite-only announcement about a downtown redevelopment project, but he refused to take any questions from reporters. 

NYS requested permission to install the signs back in 2013 from the Federal Highway Administration but the designs were denied because they did not meet regulations that require highway signs to provide navigational information.

Governor Cuomo moved forward with the signs anyway. 

Since then, more than 500 have been made and installed over the objections of the FHWA.

Earlier this year, the administration pulled $14-million in highway funding because of the issue and if the signs aren't removed by Sept. 30, the revocation will be permanent.  

Congressman Chris Collins, along with five of his Republican congressional colleagues from Upstate New York, recently penned a letter to Governor Cuomo, pleading with him to take the signs down so New Yorkers won't lose much needed federal funding for road and bridge projects.  

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke: "Does it seem to you that they've (FHWA) played this game long enough?" 

Congressman Collins: "I believe they've played the game long enough, they're not going to work with the state, the signs are distracting, they're demanding they come down." 

Lewke: "Did you write the letter thinking the governor might not actually take the signs down?"

Collins: "I can't believe he would want to keep them up and forfeit that $14-million but then again, the governor can be stubborn so, only time is going to tell." 

Governor Cuomo refused to take questions in Rochester on Wednesday. In a statement a spokesman would only say, "We are in ongoing discussions with FHWA and fully expect to have a mutually beneficial agreement in place well before the September deadline."

A spokesman for FHWA tells News10NBC, "We are continuing to work with NYSDOT to resolve this matter."

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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