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N.Y. Agrees To Remove Controversial 'I Love NY' Highway Signs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Those controversial "I Love NY" signs are coming down.

The Cuomo administration has agreed to remove and replace hundreds of the highway signs after federal officials threatened to withhold $14 million in funding.

State officials said Friday they will install new signs this summer and will consult with the federal government on the designs. They stopped short of admitting defeat in the fight with federal officials, however, saying new signs are needed anyway for a new tourism campaign.

"As the current campaign and signs are entering their fifth year, this message has run its useful course and we already plan to launch a new 'I Love NY' campaign this summer," according to a joint statement issued by state Department of Transportation Commissioner Paul Karas and Thruway director Matthew Driscoll.

New York spent more than $8 million on the "I Love NY" signs in recent years.

Federal officials told Gov. Andrew Cuomo to remove them because they were unsafe, but he refused. Federal officials then warned the state Thursday it would lose $14 million unless it complied with the sign regulations by September 30.

State officials credited the signs with driving up tourism and said the new campaign will carry the theme of "NY has it all!"

Cuomo's critics had jumped on the signs — and the ensuing conflict with Washington — as an example of unnecessary stubbornness on the part of the governor.

"This is another example of how we're continuing to hit people over the head," Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis told CBS2's Jessica Layton, shaking her head over what she calls the incompetence of the Cuomo administration. "It's an incompetence on government to have put these signs up – being that it's a violation of federal law – then there was an arrogance not taking them down."

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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