ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Thruway signs are meant to promote tourism across the state, but the Federal Highway Administration says they’re illegal.
New York tourism signs have lined major New York highways, but soon, they’ll be coming down.
The Federal Highway Administration has been warning the governor for years that the signs are illegal. Travelers think the signs are unnecessary.
“I think there’s enough signage on the Thruway that I’m not really interested in what’s on there.”
“I think they’re a lot. You know five signs at a time.”
Now the signs could be coming down.
The feds are in what they call a “working group” with the state DOT to come up with a plan saying in a statement:
“FHWA has been working closely with the New York State DOT on the issue of the signs. A working group between the state and the FHWA has been productive, but it only started a few weeks ago so there is still much to do. No signs have been removed and no specific penalties have been set since the working group began meeting last month, but we are still developing a plan with NYSDOT through the working group. “
They also say they are in ongoing discussions and taking the signs down has never been part of those discussions.
“I think they could be helpful if you’re not familiar with the area. I think they could be helpful to navigate you to a point where you could ask questions.”
Those who frequent the Thruway say they can see the idea behind the signs but think it’s poorly executed.
“Nothing really pertains to me. There’s no reason for me to even think about them. So I may glance at them and then just look at the road.”
The DOT confirms its working with the highway administration and issued a statement saying:
“NYSDOT continues to engage in active dialogue with FHWA. We are looking forward to resolving any outstanding issues in the near future. These signs are part of the state’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. According to ESD, the state’s tourism industry generated a record-breaking economic impact of $102 billion statewide in 2015, with $63 billion in direct visitor spending contributing $8 billion in state and local taxes. Annually, tourism is responsible for 910,000 jobs in New York State.”
Drivers say if taxpayer money was spent to put the signs up and will also be used to take them down, then it’s a waste.
“I would be upset, too. Because I don’t have my money to give away and if I have to pay for something I’d rather pay for something that makes sense.”
The DOT says the signs contribute to New York’s booming tourism industry, including garnering $102 billion statewide in 2015 with $63 billion in direct spending; $8 billion coming from taxes; and creating nearly a million jobs.
Even so, people on the Thruway say they’re not reading the signs anyway.
“I have seen them. I couldn’t tell you what’s on them but I’ve seen them.”
“I don’t find them distracting, to be honest with you. I keep my eye on the road.”
There isn’t a timeline on when the signs are expected to be coming down.