Archive for July, 2011

FHWA Gets Why Commercial Rest Areas Are a Bad Idea

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Legislators may be questioning whether federal law should be changed to permit the sale of food and fuel and other retail services along the interstate right-of-way. But even FHWA can see what a bad idea this would be for businesses and consumers.

In an excerpt from FHWA’s Frequently Asked Questions, FHWA:

  • acknowledges that the legislative intent of the commercialization law was to prevent monopolies;
  • recognizes that the purpose of rest areas is short rest breaks and that there are other sources for motorists to buy food and fuel besides the state government;
  • explains the benefits of no commercialization at rest areas include “no pressure to make purchases”;
  • and points out that Congress reaffirmed the law when it enacted the Interstate Oasis Program in the last highway reauthorization bill, SAFETEA-Lu.

In 1956, former Rep. Charles A. Vanik (D-Ohio) said, “Let the highway traveler turn off the interstate system if he requires foods, motor-vehicle service, lodging or Stuckey’s pecans.”

Nearly 60 years later, we couldn’t agree more.