Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

In The News

With new administration comes renewed debate over rest area commercialization

By Matt Cole -
Posted Apr 15th 2021 2:51PM

A new policy brief published last week by libertarian research group Reason Foundation suggests that lawmakers should reconsider the ban on commercializing interstate rest areas. With the ban in place, states are not allowed to add commercial services to rest areas, such as eating establishments or fuel services.

Moves toward repealing or modifying the ban have been made several times in recent years, at both the state and federal level, to no avail. The Federal Highway Administration fielded public comments in 2016 on whether it should allow new forms of commercial sales at rest areas beyond the currently allowed vending machines. The following year, a bill was introduced in Congress that would have given states the option to commercialize rest areas, but it went nowhere. Then, in 2018, the Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal included rest area commercialization, but the proposal was never acted upon by Congress.