8/30/2011- Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) welcomed news that the Administration plans to lift mandates previously issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) which would have required local municipalities to pay for costly changes to street and traffic signs.
“We are thrilled to see common sense prevail and a huge financial burden lifted from the backs of local municipalities and taxpayers,” said Congressman Higgins, who previously served on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “At a time when local transportation budgets are stretched especially thin, these ill-conceived requirements would have diverted precious resources from other infrastructure projects more central to job creation and economic development,”
The USDOT provides a guidance called the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD to define the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public traffic. Some have questioned some of the deadlines and new rules related to street sign lettering and reflectivity.
Congressman Higgins has been a vocal opponent of these requirements for aesthetic changes to roadway signage.
In a letter to the Federal Highway Administration dated November 9, 2010, Congressman Higgins questioned the new rules writing, “Since we are in a time where communities across Western New York and the country are struggling to balance their budgets, I was extremely disturbed to see that the Federal Highway Administration would add an additional mandate on these cash-strapped communities, forcing them to upgrade signs.”
On November 30, 2010 Congressman Higgins noted the reopening of the public comment period on the sign regulations and encouraged the public to weigh in.
Congressman Higgins officially filed his own opinion on the matter with a letter sent to the Federal Highway Administration on January 11, 2011 stating, “Amid this extremely difficult fiscal situation, local jurisdictions are justifiably sensitive to any new regulations and compliance deadlines that will increase the cost of transportation and infrastructure obligations, potentially diverting resources from critical priorities. As you continue to evaluate these regulations, I would urge you to please consider the financial situation of these communities. We can all agree that the safety of our roads for all citizens is imperatives, but the implementation of these regulations should also carefully consider their fiscal impact.”