Orange You Glad? Minor Road Sign Change Could Cost NY Taxpayers $27 Million


orange-road-signs-nyCan you tell the difference between these two orange signs in the photo? Well, the DOT has ordered contractors to change their signs from the orange on the left to the shade on the right – and the estimated $27 million cost could be passed onto taxpayers.
Here’s a new reason for critics of wasteful spending in New York to see red: the color orange. It’s a decision by a state bureaucrat that’s costing taxpayers a lot of green.

You may have noticed it on roadwork signs – a switch from one shade of orange to another that’s costing taxpayers an estimated $27 million.

“What about money for the schools, and money for other things that are more important than these signs?” New Rochelle resident Shirelle Gary said.

For years, New York required contractors to use constructions signs with a shade of orange known as “Type 7.”

That is, until the Department of Transportation decided that “Type 7” just didn’t cut it anymore.

The DOT ordered road builders to buy millions of new signs in a slightly different shade of orange – “Type 9” – a change that cost the industry $27 million.

A new report from a government efficiency task force points out that contractors simply “are now passing [that cost] back onto the state in the form of higher contract prices.”

Many highway safety rules are handed down by the federal government, but Uncle Sam is not responsible for this costly color change. The credit for that rests with the state bureaucrat who issued the order.

James F. Tynan is the top official in the DOT’s Construction Division, and his order claimed the new shade of orange improved safety – but the feds say there’s no evidence the new shade of orange is any better than the old one.

Neither Tynan nor the DOT press office returned calls and e-mails from CBS 2.

“It’s one thing to say the newer shade of orange would be easier to see, but to spend $30 million?” White Plains resident Alex Philippidis said. “It’s too much, way too much, especially this day and age.”

There’s no sign that the DOT is letting up on the questionable spending, either. It recently ordered slight changes to concrete barriers that will eventually cost taxpayers $33 million.

A state task force has ordered the DOT to appear at a hearing next week to explain these and other examples of apparently wasteful spending.

{WCBS-TV/Noam Newscenter}


  1. “I highly doubt such waste is tolerated in Canada and Europe!”

    I can’t speak for Canada, but billions of euros are wasted on ill-conceived public projects throughout the European Union.