The feds' deadline looms for the state to remove the "I Love NY" signs or face a penalty
With the federal deadline to remove them just four days away Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo was questioned about those "I Love NY" signs on the New York State Thruway.
You see the big, blue signs near every exit. The federal government says they're illegal and they have to come down by Sunday. The Daily Messenger's news partner News 10NBC wanted to know what the governor is prepared to do up to the deadline.
This would be no big deal if it didn't involve millions of dollars. The federal government warned the governor that if those signs don't come down, it's holding onto $14 million in highway money.
The governor took lots of pictures when in Rochester on Wednesday, but he left downtown without taking any questions from local reporters. News 10NBC got his answers on the topic when he took questions in Buffalo.
"We are still discussing with the federal government what changes they want to the signs. But the I Love New York campaign itself has run its course. I think we've run that campaign for a few years now," Cuom said.
The governor had said the "I Love NY campaign had run its course" about a year ago.
The signs tell people on the Thruway about tourism opportunities in the area.The federal government says they're illegal because they don't give specific directions like the green highway signs do. Other issues raised include their size and distraction factor.
The deadline for the signs to come down is Sept. 30. The governor will only say this: "The federal Department of Transportation has some technical issues with the signs that we're working on."
When asked what the governor meant by "technical issues," state Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Morrisey, wrote in an email, "We continue to work cooperatively with [Federal Highway Administration] to resolve any remaining issues and will provide an update soon."
Based on median salaries, here's what $14 million can buy:
— 22 teachers for 10 years in Monroe County.
— 26 police officers for a decade in Rochester.
— 32 social workers over the same period of time in New York state.
News 10NBC asked the federal government for a comment on what the governor said, but had not received a response as of Wednesday evening.