The feds could be turning the dimmer on the bright lights of New York City, as the Big Apple reportedly faces pressure to remove its iconic oversized billboards from Times Square.
Capital New York and CBS2 report that a 2012 federal transportation law has ensnared one of the city's most famous attractions, by declaring that the storied Broadway and 7th Avenue intersection -- and other city streets -- fall under the 1965 Highway Beautification Act.
That law says billboards within 660 feet of a highway can't be more than 1,200 square feet. And Times Square's looming luminous signs certainly fall outside those restrictions.
Now, city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg reportedly says they're under pressure to get rid of the billboards -- or give up part of the state's federal highway funds.
"All these billboards, they no longer meet the Highway Beautification Act requirements, and so now we're going to have to go through kind of a complicated process with the state to yank them off because the feds are threatening to take away 10 percent of our money," Trottenberg said, according to Capital New York.
Bringing Times Square under the Beautification Act may not have been intentional. After all, the Johnson administration-era law was originally meant to clean up rural areas of the country.
But it's unclear how the city might be able to get out of it.
To even suggest that these billboards be removed demonstrates a shocking lack of connection with the American people. It also reveals just how far our federal agencies will go to enact and enforce ridiculous regulations.
Fortunately, the American people possess a tool to stop over-regulation once and for all: an Article V Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that limit to what extent federal regulators can impose their will on American lives.