After reports earlier this week that the federal government was pressuring the Department of Transportation to remove the billboards in Times Square, both the government and the DOT are denying that that ever happened. City Lab did some digging and was told by a representative of the Federal Highway Administration that, "FHWA has been working with the New York State DOT and the New York City DOT for nearly a year to correct this unintentional consequence of extending the National Highway System (NHS). At no time has FHWA asked NYCDOT to remove the billboards from Times Square or threatened to withhold federal funds." The real question at hand is why exactly Times Square, along with virtually "all principal arterials" in the country, were reclassified as highways in a huge 2012 expansion of the National Highway System. While Times Square, of course, would never actually be forced to comply with the restrictions that govern real highways, other reclassified roads may not be so lucky. At the very least, there are probably quite a few more bureaucratic headaches in store.
· No, the Feds Are Not Requiring Times Square to Remove Its Billboards [City Lab]
· Huge Times Square Billboards May Be Nixed for 'Beautification' [Curbed]