November 30, 2016 07:20 PM
SCHENECTADY - The big, blue signs that have been put up across New York serve a purpose: to point motorists toward a path through New York history, toward food and beverage, or toward outdoor recreation.
"I actually kind of like them," says Rob Kessler, a resident of Holland Patent, New York, passing through the Capital Region, "It's pretty cool to see what we have to offer in the state."
But the Federal Highway Administration says the signs are too busy, there's too much to read, and they believe it puts distracted drivers at risk.
"I drive all the time, probably 50,000 or 60,000 miles a year up and down I-90 and it's never once crossed my mind that that was a distraction," says Rick Kristoff, of Buffalo.
In an un-scientific survey, polling just a handful of motorists Wednesday afternoon, NewsChannel 13 couldn't find any who thought the big blue signs created a distraction. They felt the I Love NY signs were no different from any other signs they encounter along their journeys.
"I guess there probably is too much, but it's advertising," Averill Park resident John Sniezyk, points out. "That's what we've got in this country, just like commercials on television.
And apparently it's a very effective advertising campaign according to Empire State Development officials who issued this statement:
"Tourism is a major driver of New York's economy and these signs are part of a multi-pronged effort that has helped increase tourism across the state. Last year, the tourism industry generated a record-breaking economic impact of $102 billion statewide while supporting more than 894,000 jobs and contributing $8 billion in state and local taxes."
With numbers like those, it makes you wonder why the feds are threatening to withhold millions of dollars in highway funds if New York doesn't remove the signs.
"Probably because they lost the election," Kessler speculates. "Most of them are democrats, honestly. That's the only logical reason why they would do something like that. It's absolutely absurd."
Meanwhile, The New York State DOT also issued a statement on Wednesday:
"This issue has been discussed for years and involves the interpretation of rules for directional signage versus informational signage, and whether or not an email address can be posted. This isn't high crime, but minor disagreements that we look forward to meeting with the feds in order to resolve. The I Love NY tourism program is highly successful and a big economic driver."
DOT officials are expected to fly to Washington in the coming weeks to meet with federal officials to hopefully resolve the issue.
Updated: November 30, 2016 07:20 PM
Created: November 30, 2016 06:35 PM
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