FHWA Gets Why Commercial Rest Areas Are a Bad Idea

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.

Leave a Reply