Ducey Accused Of Wanting Government To Compete With Private Industry

Reno Junction Travel Plaza in Gillette, Wyoming, brings an element of fun to the travel plaza industry while also meeting the needs of a wide range of customers. Photo from National Association of Truck-stop Owners

The U.S. Department of Transportation should reject Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s request to allow the state to sell food and fuel at Interstate rest areas, says a group of travel plaza and truck stop owners. In a letter dated Nov. 6, 2017, Ducey urged the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to allow the state to compete with private businesses by establishing commercial rest areas along the Interstate right-of-way under a pilot program.

“Arizona wants to sidestep federal law–a law that has been debated and reaffirmed in Congress many times,” said Lisa Mullings of NATSO, the U.S. association of travel plazas and truck stops. “Rest area commercialization threatens thousands of businesses serving travelers at the interstate exits. This ill-advised proposal risks the livelihood of hundreds of Arizona business owners and their employees, and would hurt local communities who depend on the property taxes these businesses pay to fund schools and police.”

“What’s more, the provision of federal law that Governor Ducey calls ‘nonsensical’ and would like to eliminate is in fact an important provision empowering the blind community in the United States. Blind-owned businesses currently receive priority for Interstate rest area vending opportunities,” Mullings continued.

Congress effectively privatized highway services in 1960, when Congress prohibited states from offering commercial services at rest areas along the Interstate Highway System specifically so that private sector entities would grow and provide services to the traveling public. Today, hundreds of thousands of established businesses, including travel plazas, convenience stores, restaurants and hotels are meeting the needs of highway travelers.

“This is not privatization, as the governor maintains. In fact, commercialization of rest areas uses government power to establish one business as a monopoly to the detriment of others operating in the free market,” Mullings said. “Rather than privatizing a government function, this proposal would transfer sales away from the private sector to the government.

“We don’t need a pilot program to see the effects of commercial rest areas on local communities and businesses because there are at least a dozen states that oversee commercialized rest areas,” said Mullings. (These state-controlled rest areas were already commercialized when the federal law was passed and were thus allowed to continue.) “We can witness the anti-competitive effect that commercialized rest areas has on Interstate businesses,” she said, citing a study conducted by Virginia Tech. The report found that there are 46 percent fewer gas sales, 44 percent fewer restaurant sales and 35 percent fewer truck service business sales. In total, this is a loss of over $55 billion in annual sales for interchange businesses.


  1. If Ducey is in favor of it, some donor is meant to benefit from it to the detriment of the rest of Arizonans. No one should be surprised Governor Ducey is calling a law that helps the blind earn a living “nonsensical” because it stands in the way of his giving economic opportunity preferences to political donors. The Governor is a Jeff Flake fake Republican so let`s vote him out of office next year.

  2. Apparently “Truth” (or is it Pravda?) never compared wages and benefits paid government workers as compared to private sector workers doing the same job.

  3. Back in 1985 while traveling with a cousin on the interstate system in Connecticut, at every toll booth which was about every 10 miles, there was a MacDonald’s and other corporate establishments. It was the tackiest looking thing and shouldn’t be done here. Leave it to privately owned business folks.

  4. Rest areas in the United Kingdom, called motor service areas, are places where drivers can leave a motorway to refuel/recharge, rest, eat and drink, shop or stay in an on-site overnight hotel. These areas are privately owned and operated. From my driving in the UK, I found that this arrangement is very helpful to the traveler.

  5. Ducey may have been good at ice cream, but he just doesn’t get government. At least not conservative government.
    First he has the state government overrule local government (city) codes on Airbnb.
    Now he wants state government to compete with local cities and businesses.
    Thank the Lord he’s not in Washington trying to get the federal level to overrule our local laws.
    No mas Ducey por favor.

    • I guess your also unaware of Federal workers annual pay frozen by the last administration for suppose to be 1 year turned into close to 5 years. So every federal worker basically was underpaid 35% less than private sectors.

        • Apparently “Truth” (or is it Pravda?) never compared wages and benefits paid government workers as compared to private sector workers doing the same job.

      • lol Its a giant misconception of what you and everyone else assumes vs reality. Every government worker is well aware of what the private sector and how much difference it is. The Ignorance is on your behalf.

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