Partnership urges preserving
Interstate commercialization ban
Jul 20, 2009 2:56 PM
The Partnership to Save Highway Communities urged the leadership of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) to maintain the prohibition on commercial activity along the Interstate right-of-way in the upcoming extension of the current highway reauthorization law.
In a letter addressed to Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), the partnership cautioned that allowing state governments to compete with private businesses for the services of Interstate motorists risks thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues. The partnership advocated that the EPW Committee preserve the current ban, which has been in place for nearly 50 years and successfully helped establish communities along Americaís Interstate system.
In recent weeks, several states, including Virginia, New Hampshire, and Vermont, have closed rest areas, citing budgetary shortfalls. Some state officials have discussed the prospects of commercializing Interstate rest stop areas as a potential means of preserving these facilities. The Partnership to Save Highway Communities believes this is a short-sighted approach that ultimately will destroy thousands of businesses located off the Interstate exit ramps.
More than 60,000 businesses successfully operate along the nationís Interstates as a result of the commercialization ban. Studies show that commercializing state facilities would cut business to the private entities in half. Whatís more, these businesses generate billions of dollars in annual sales at Interstate exists nationwide. In many rural communities, they contribute the largest percentage of sales tax and property tax revenues used to fund public schools and local police and fire departments. At the rest areas themselves, more than 600 blind business owners earn a living and support their families servicing rest stop vending operations.
Alternatives to closing state-run rest areas exist. Oregon, for example, recently implemented the Interstate Oasis Program. The program helps states partnerórather than competeówith Interstate businesses to serve public needs at minimal cost.
For more information, visit www.jobsnextexit.com.
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