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Obama Administration Backs Away from Costly Street Sign Regulations


Just one day after President Barack Obama announced pay freeze for federal employees, his administration is again highlighting efforts to save American taxpayers money. The Department of Transportation is now working to distance the administration from an obscure new regulation that would require local governments to replace existing street signs with ones that use upper and lowercase letters instead of all capital letters.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that it “makes no sense” to require local governments to spend money to replace “perfectly good traffic signs" -- a rebuttal of new regulations which require all street signs to be changed to the new format by 2018. Instead, LaHood explained, the DOT will hold an additional 45-day public comment period on the regulation which began Tuesday.

“Given the difficult economic conditions states currently face, asking for additional input on compliance dates is the right thing to do,” LaHood wrote in a statement. “We want to be sure these safety requirements are reasonable, fair and cost-effective.”

LaHood does not have the power to repeal the new regulation on his own. Officials in cash-strapped cities across the country have complained that the new sign rules would cost their municipalities millions of dollars. In New York, city officials estimated replacing all 250,000 of the city's street signs would cost $27.5 million.

In Nevada, the state's Regional Transportation Commission estimated the new regs would cost the state an estimated $34 million over the next seven years.

The street sign regulation was proposed during the George W. Bush administration and went into effect in 2009 after President Barack Obama took office.

“There have got to be better ways to improve safety without piling costs onto the American people,” LaHood said. “Safety is our priority, but so is good government.”

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