States should partner with Interstate 5 businesses, not compete
Posted on : 19-03-2009 | By : Truckdrivernews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, Truck Stops, truck driver Industry
THREE West Coast governors have made a proposal, which is a violation of a long
-standing federal law, that seeks to commercialize the states’ rest areas along Interstate 5 and provide not only alternative fuels, but food and other services.
If the states have their way, private businesses at the exit interchanges would be forced to compete with the subsidized, government-run operations along the right-of-way. These businesses, most of which are independently owned, small businesses, are a
lready facing significant challenges with the stalled economy, and this proposal places the thousands of jobs provided by these businesses at risk.
tation departments of Washington, Oregon and California knowingly submitted an application to the Federal Highway Administration that violates a federal statute that bans commercial activity at state-operated rest areas located along interstate highways. The ban, which has been in place since 1960, was implemented to f oster economic development along the interstate highway system. This policy has been wildly successful, with more than 60,000 interstate-based businesses nationwide providing a host of services in a highly competitive environment.
Should this scheme go forward, the newly commercialized rest areas along I-5 with direct access from the highway would have a significant competitive advantage over existing businesses â€” which invested millions of dollars in their property relying on this long-standing ban restricting state governments from competing against them.
Unfortunately, these businesses have had no public opportunity to weigh in on this proposal, which was quietly submitted to the U.S. Department of Transpo
rtation last fall under a “Special Experimental Project” application. And while the alternative-fuels portion of the plan has been highly touted, the proposal doesn’t stop there. Their application inclu ded the request to offer “food and other services.” This program places at risk more than 3,500 businesses l ocated on Interstate 5 in these three states, including some 1,600 restaurants and more than 5Ȓ gas stations, truck stops and convenience stores.
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