Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sign of the times: Fed require NYC to change all street signs

As some on the left scoff at the right’s complaints about unfunded federal mandates and the need for greater 10th Amendment protection, I offer up Exhibit A.  This is how the Feds cause states to bust their budgets.
New York Daily News: The city will change the lettering on every single street sign - at an estimated cost of about $27.5 million - because the feds don't like the font.
Street names will change from all capital letters to a combination of upper and lower case on roads across the country thanks to the pricey federal regulation, officials said Wednesday.
By 2018, MADISON AVE. will become Madison Ave. and will be printed in a font called Clearview, the city Department of Transportation says.
The Federal Highway Administration says the switch will improve safety because drivers identify the words more quickly when they're displayed that way - and can sooner return their eyes to the road.
Still, several city residents were OUTRAGED.
The city has about 250,000 signs, and it costs about $110 to replace one, the DOT says. Officials said the new signs will have improved reflectivity and clarity for nighttime drivers. […]
The changes are among many in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices that regularly changes to improve road safety, highway administration spokesman Doug Hecox said. The mixed upper- and lowercase rule was adopted in 2003, but municipalities were given until 2018 to comply completely, Hecox said. [MORE] 
New York City is currently running a $4 billion deficit for fiscal year 2009-2010 and the state needs to close a $47 billion budget gap.  In a sane and orderly world, New York should be able to decide if and when something like street sign changes are necessary and affordable. 

Sooner or later, states must exert their rights to determine when and where money is to be spent. Otherwise the wasteful spending disease from Washington will continue to spread.

Via: Reuters


Janelle said...

Add the DOT to the growing list of Federal Departments that need to be trimmed way back.

Kevin T. Keith said...

(1) The signs are ordinarily replaced at intervals as they wear out.

(2) The new regulation only specifies that the new standard highway-sign font should be used on the new signs, not that any signs not using it have to be taken down.

(3) The new signs will be phased in as the old signs are replaced on the ordinary schedule.

(4) The regulation explicitly stipulates a 15-year window for replacement of the signs, which normally last only about 10 years.

(5) The regulation has been in place since 2003, when it was implemented by the Bush administration.

(6) The supposed cost of the program is merely the ordinary replacement cost of the signs, which are replaced whenever they wear out. Because there is no specific regulation requiring replacing signs that have not worn out, there is no cost associated with implementing the font regulation by itself.

(7) The funds involved come from the ordinary state/federal funding for local road maintenance, which pays for replacing the signs as part of ordinary maintenance and has been doing so for a long time. There are no funds specifically budgeted for replacing existing signs in order to change the font, because there is no regulation actually requiring them to do that and that's not what they're doing.

(8) The funds involved have nothing to do with economic "stimulus" programs.

(9) All of this information is available explicitly or implicitly in the story you actually quoted in order to be wrong about it.

(10) In addition to your obviously poor reading comprehension, you are immensely stupid and intellectually incompetent (which is to say, conservative, so I guess it's not surprising).

Anonymous said...

You do realize, dont you, that this was promulgated in 2003, by the Bush administration.

And, there is a 10 year period for phasing in the new signs. Street signs in NY have a 10 year life expectancy, so basically, the regulation has no financial effect - it just specifies the font to be used on signs that are to be replaced anyway.

Janelle said...

Keith and anon., it's the new font that's annoying. Yes, I do realize that signs need replacing from wear. One of my co-workers has a city job which includes replacing and installing them.

billd said...

succinct and well-stated...

to gov apologists:
1) too many words - ref ABC comments
2) fed intrusion into this issue shows they have way too much time on their hands (not to mention "out of scope") - ref Janelle, ABC
3) "bush did it" - so?

Caeseria said...

I have a cataract in one eye, hate night driving, hate hard to read signs, would love all signs to have the upper/lowercase distinction because I could sight-read them faster, etc etc etc....


d.campione said...

This is another example of the Federal Gov overreaching the powers granted to it by the constitution. I'm sure Thomas Jefferson envision an America where federal beaurocrats waste 25 million dollars to alter street sign font in a recession.

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