Obama Administration: Times Square’s Iconic Billboards Must Be Removed or Else

Article posted on May 7th, 2015 by WhatAmIMissingHere

WAIMH Red ArrowFeds To Enforce 1965 Highway Beautification Act, Could Deny NYC $90 Million In Funding

By CBS New York

The feds say many of Times Square’s huge and neon-lit billboards must come down or the city will lose about $90 million in federal highway money.

You can call it a bureaucratic blunder … or a Washington blooper.

But any way you slice it a move by the federal government to make the city remove Times Square’s iconic billboards falls in the category of “whose bright idea is this?”

It is known as the “Crossroads of the World,” the “Center of the Universe” and “the Great White Way,” but Times Square could become like the “Black Hole of Calcutta” if the federal government has its way, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.

Obama Administration: Times Square’s Iconic Billboards Must Be Removed Or Else video by John Montone reports play it by clicking here.

“We’re going to let outsiders who sit in a cramped room and have nothing to do with our city as far as partaking in it on an everyday basis change something that means something to the whole entire world? That makes total sense, just like everything else the federal government does,” said Keith Watson of Flushing.

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.

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.   (my emphasis)

READ all of CBS New York’s coverage of this here.

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