NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The “I Love NY” highway signs could wind up costing New York State $14 million in federal funding.

The state had been warned for several years not to install the signs because of safety concerns, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo had more than 500 of them put up.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration sent a letter to New York transportation officials Thursday, saying the state stands to lose the funding for failing to remove the signs.

“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.”

The state spent more than $8 million to design and install the signs, which the federal government deemed unsafe because they’re filled with too much information that distracts drivers.

“We believe the signs are safe and provide useful information to drivers. The Federal Highway Administration has been clear that any financial penalty will be reinstated once the two parties come to a resolution,” DOT said in a statement, adding the dialogue continues.

Are the signs worth the trouble? A reporter from CBS2’s affiliate in Albany tried demanding answers Thursday from the DOT commissioner, who replied “I have no comment on that.”

But drivers certainly are talking about it, Layton reported.

“Leave them up and fight it. I like the signs,” one man said. “Why does the federal government dictate what New York does?”

FHA officials say the funding will be reinstated if the state complies with sign regulations by Sept. 30.

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

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