DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Another big oops?

First, New York state learned its ‘I Love New York’ tourism signs violated federal highway standards, and now it’s being told the cashiers inside the new Long Island welcome center must be replaced.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, taxpayers want to know who is responsible.

“They told me to come over here to self-checkout. I mean, doesn’t that take away from jobs?” Christopher McGourty said.

At the ‘Taste New York Store’ a table had been filled with local fruits and vegetables, but those were quietly replaced with state of the art electronic kiosks — no more cashiers.

“We offer self-checkout now,” a manager explained.

The Cuomo administration was in violation of a 1956 federal law that bans over the counter sales at rest areas. Cuts in highway funding were threatened if the state failed to comply.

It’s reminiscent of Cuomo’s 500 ‘I Love New York’ tourism signs — which violate Federal Highway Administration standards. The signs which were deemed to large and distracting may have to come down at taxpayer expense.

On Thursday, the governor’s staff ran interference when CBS2 tried to learn the status of the signs and the welcome center kiosks.

“The governor should have definitely checked the laws,” one driver said.

Others backed state and local rights.

“It does seem like an overreach, why is the federal government interfering with us?” Joseph McKeon said.

Congress adopted the rules because of concerns from towns and businesses that motorists on the interstate highway system would pass them by.

CBS2 drove to the nearest exits and found the closest stores were almost two miles away from the welcome center.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tiffany Portzer released the following statement in regard to the controversy:

“Taste NY continues to be an overwhelming success, allowing New York State to showcase its unique food and beverage products to visitors and locals alike. We are pleased the federal government understands the significant contribution the Taste NY stores provide to our economy and to New York farms and businesses and we look forward to continuing our ongoing conversations.”‎

The governor’s office said no one will lose a job as a result of the changes at the welcome center.

His staff was unable to provide CBS2 with the cost of the new self-checkout electronics.


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