ALBANY - New York has a Sunday deadline to reach an agreement with the federal government over whether to remove more than 500 I Love NY signs along state roadways or risk losing millions of dollars more in federal highway funds.
Already, the Federal Highway Administration has withheld $14 million in aid to New York after it deemed in February that the signs must come down because they violate U.S. standards.
But since then, the sides have been unable to reach an agreement on whether to replace the signs or take them down
Now the deadline is approaching: Without a deal by month's end, the federal government could withhold even more money from New York for its roads and bridges. Monday is the start of the federal fiscal year.
"We are still discussing with the federal government what changes they want to the signs," Cuomo told reporters Wednesday in Buffalo.
Cuomo reiterated what he said last year: New York is in the midst of changing its tourism campaign, anyway.
So, he suggested, taking down the signs would be part of that change.
"The I Love NY campaign itself has run its course. We have run that campaign for a few years now," he continued.
"So we’ll be switching to a new theme, but we are keeping the tourism campaign."
The Federal Highway Administration this week would only say that discussions continue.
But behind the scenes, the sides have trying to find a compromise that could let some of the signs stay up, but remove most of them.
In June, the state proposed taking down roughly 400 of the signs while keeping the so-called motherboard signs that lead off the grouping of signs along major thoroughfares in New York, according to documents obtained by the USA TODAY Network's Albany Bureau.
But the sides had a series of concerns with various proposals that could lead to an accord.