Representative Jim Banks introduced legislation (H.R. 1990) that would permit commercial services such as convenience stores and restaurants at interstate rest areas.
The Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) is concerned that interstate-based motor fuel retailers will be unable to compete with commercialized rest areas, which are conveniently located on the highway right-of-way, and would create a de facto monopoly in favor of businesses operated out of rest areas. Interstate rest area commercialization would destroy the property tax base of local governments (for a short-term gain in state revenue) and put many retailers out of business.
In the 2012 transportation bill, a Senate amendment seeking to overturn the prohibition on commercial rest areas was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 86 to 12. Today, PMAA, along with like-minded groups, sent a letter to the Chair and ranking member of the House Transportation Committee opposing rest area commercialization.