State DOT removing "I Love NY" signs

  • State DOT removing

State DOT removing "I Love NY" signs

The iconic "I Love New York" advertising campaign, stylized with a red heart in place of the word love, has been used to promote tourism in the state of New York since the 1970s; but signs bearing the slogan could cost the state millions of dollars in federal funding.

State officials say the existing signs will be used but modified to advertise a new tourism campaign called "NY has it all!"

They stopped short of admitting defeat in the fight with federal officials, however, saying new signs are needed anyway for a new tourism campaign.

State officials said Friday they will install new signs this summer and will consult with the federal government on the designs.

The agency says the signs violate numerous federal highway rules governing what signage can and can't be placed along roadways.

The FHWA, which has told the state since 2011 that the 514 signs installed along interstate highways don't comply with federal standards, on Thursday issued the $14 million fine - but it gave the state until September 30 to come into compliance and avoid the penalty.

Federal officials told Governor Cuomo to remove them because they were unsafe, but he refused.

Unless the signs are removed by September 30, the state will forfeit the funds, the letter stated. The FHWA has rejected state efforts to declare the signs an "experiment" allowed under federal sign law. NY officials, however, claimed the signs aided in boosting tourism.

A spokesman for the FHWA could not immediately be reached for comment Friday evening.

FHWA contends the signs are potentially hazardous, contain too much information and convey no information that's of use to a driver while driving.

Karas and Driscoll touted the current signs as a success, claiming they encouraged motorists to get off the highway and visit "mom-and-pop restaurants, shops, and historic destinations". "Unfortunately, it is New Yorkers who will likely pay the price".

Those controversial "I Love NY" signs are coming down. Among other issues, the Federal Highway Administration said the large signs may make it hard for drivers to see hazards on the road side.

"This increased traffic has in turn boosted local economies that aren't typical tourist attractions", they said.