Republican gubernatorial candidate John DeFrancisco called Monday for legislative hearings into the installation of tourism signs along the state Thruway system that are being removed after they failed to comply with federal guidelines.

At the same time, DeFrancisco, a Syracuse lawmaker in the Senate, said the Empire State Development Corp. should reimburse the Department of Transportation, the Thruway Authority and the Port Authority for the money spent on the signs.

The state DOT on Friday announced that the 514 signs, which advertised tourism attractions and the I Love NY program, would be removed and eventually replaced in order to follow federal highway rules. The state faced a loss of $14 million in federal highway funding if the signs remained in place as they were.

“Governor Cuomo inherently believe’s that the rule of law does not apply to him or his administration. As I’ve said many times, Andrew Cuomo does what he wants, when he wants, no matter whether its right or wrong, legal or illegal. And he will never admit a mistake,” DeFrancisco said.

“Andrew was told many times by numerous agencies and state employees, including the counsel to the state Department of Transportation, that installing these signs was illegal. Rather than adhere to the law, Andrew thought he was above it, going so far as to taunt the federal government by keeping the signs up, thinking they would never come take them down. Andrew, was right, they didn’t come take them down. Instead, they withheld federal highway funds and forced him to take the signs down. Like with any bully, when you stand up to them, they back down.”

DeFrancisco declared his candidacy for governor last week, joining Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra in the race for the GOP nomination.