Federal officials have told New York City it must remove its iconic Times Square neon-lit billboards or lose $90 million in federal funding thanks to a new interpretation of a 1965 highway beautification act.
The edict comes from a 2012 law that makes Times Square an arterial route to the national highway system. And that puts it under the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which limits signs to 1,200 square feet. It took the feds until now to realize that Times Square was included, Kramer reported.
In essence, the federal bureaucracy redefined a couple of existing laws and are now trying to impose their rules on New York.
New York residents and tourists alike say highway beautification shouldn’t apply to Times Square, where the innovative, in-your-face billboards personify New York City, itself.
City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg agrees.
“The signs in Times Square are wonderful. They’re iconic. They’re not only a global tourist attraction, they’re important to the economy,” Trottenberg said.
She said she’s not going to let it happen.
“We’re not going to be taking down the billboards in Times Square. We’re going to work with the federal government and the state and find a solution,” Trottenberg said.
The devil’s version of the Golden Rule says “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” In this case, the feds have the gold and they are dictating the rules.