Supporting Interstate Businesses Sustains Jobs and Local Communities

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said last week that a long-term plan for funding the nation’s infrastructure will be finalized by September come “hell or high water.”

Considering the seventh extension of the current highway funding law, one can only hope that a long-term plan for financing national infrastructure moves forward expeditiously.

With that goal in mind, Rep. Mica plans to host a series of public listening sessions in the coming days to gather public input on what a long-term highway bill should include and how the government should go about increasing revenues to pay for those projects.  

During the Surface Transportation Reauthorization debate, the Partnership to Save Highway Communities asks Rep. Mica to keep the perspective of Interstate-based businesses in mind.

While we certainly recognize that the committee will be looking for new ways to finance highways and bridges, we hope it rejects any attempts to weaken the current prohibition on commercial development of the interstate right-of-way, should it be discussed.

With states looking for new revenue streams, we are now seeing some State Departments of Transportation call for rest area commercialization, which has been prohibited by Congress since 1960.  Allowing state governments to set up shop from the rest area will simply siphon customers away from the businesses at the interstate exits. This, in turn, would rob local communities of jobs and tax revenues needed to fund vital public services.

Supporting interstate-based businesses through good transportation policy will sustain jobs and strengthen local communities at a time when our economy needs it.

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