Outrageous: Feds kill funny NJ signs, now a demand for answers
New Jersey's congressional delegation is demanding to know why the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has no sense of humor.
U.S. Senator's Bob Menendez and Cory Booker sent a letter to the agency seeking an explanation for their telling the New Jersey Department of Transportation to remove snarky and humorous traffic safety messages from Garden State roadways.
Driver's seemed to be enjoying the messages, like, "We'll be blunt, don't drive high" and "Slow down. This ain't Thunder Road."
Then on Friday, Nov. 18, the signs came down with little explanation.
A spokesman for the NJDOT told the Philadelphia Inquirer the FHWA "instructed us to cease posting these creative safety messages," but refused to say why.
FHWA officials confirmed they "reached out" to the NJDOT, but also offered no explanation.
Booker and Menendez say that's not good enough. The senators and 10 other members of the state's congressional delegation want a better explanation.
Their letter to the FHWA says they are "very concerned" about the decision, and question the justification for the order.
Given the positive reception around these recent safety efforts in New Jersey, we are very concerned to have learned of FHWA’s decision to block the use of these signs earlier this week without providing NJDOT with a comprehensive, data-driven justification for the decision. - Letter to FHWA from NJ congressional delegation
Addressed to the FHWA Acting Director Stephanie Pollack, the letter points out New Jersey was banned from their humorous messages, but they are still being allowed in other state's. Lawmakers are also asking Pollack to provide the data or other evidence to back up her decision.
New Jersey 101.5's Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle spent an afternoon discussing the decision. Callers to the show were generally positive about the signs, and critical of the order to remove the signs. Deminski says it's another example of why New Jersey "can't have nice things."
- We'll be blunt, don't drive high
- Hold on to your butts. Help prevent forest fires
- Hocus Pocus drive with focus
- Don't cruise when boozed
- Slow down. This ain't Thunder Road
- Nice car, did it come with a turn signal?
- Get your head out of your apps
There were concerns about the signs being a distraction. DOT officials cautioned drivers not to slow down and take photos or video of the signs while driving, but that was not cited as a reason from the FHWA in their order to stop.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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