Help Stop Commercialization of Rest Areas

Tonight’s State of the Union address could lead to increased attention focused on infrastructure policy.

January 30, 2018

WASHINGTON - Due to the State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30th, NACS anticipates there will be increased attention focused on infrastructure policy.  The president is expected to discuss the administration's plans for an infrastructure bill during his speech, and while it may not be explicitly mentioned, we expect those plans to include lifting the ban on rest area commercialization.

As many of you are aware, the Trump Administration has previously supported overturning the long-standing prohibition on allowing state governments to sell food, fuel and other commercial services at rest areas directly on the Interstate right-of-way. A proposal to commercialize Interstate rest areas may not create headlines, and is unlikely to be specifically mentioned in the president's address, but it will likely be in the fine print of any legislative proposals to Congress.

Overturning the ban on rest area commercialization is a direct threat to the livelihood of the commercial businesses, such as convenience stores, that operate near the exit interchanges as well as the communities in which they operate.

NACS is asking members like you to contact your Members of Congress who will be asked to support infrastructure legislation. At first glance, without learning more, many policymakers may be inclined to support the commercialization of Interstate rest areas. Members of Congress need to hear from constituents like you and be made aware of the disastrous effects that commercial rest areas will have on the jobs and tax revenues supplied by local convenience stores, truckstops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels.

The current ban on rest area commercialization is critical for the cities and towns that line America's highways. These communities rely on healthy off-highway businesses, like the convenience industry, for much of their commercial activity and tax revenue.

Upending years of established law would grant states a monopoly on the sale of commercial services from a premium location directly on the Interstate right-of-way; a location that would allow the state to siphon customers, charge higher prices and divert local tax revenues to state coffers. It would destroy local governments' property tax bases and drive companies like yours out of business. 

We need your help to make sure Congress understands the danger of this proposal.

NACS has provided a draft letter, but please add in information about your business to personalize your letter to your member of Congress.