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US
Department
o
Trcnsportation
Federal Highway dministration
Mathew Driscoll Commissioner
New York Division
January 19, 2017 New York State Department
of
Transportation 50 Wolf Street Albany, NY 12232 Subject: Taste
of
New York Dear Commissioner Driscoll:
Leo W. O Brien Federal Building 11A Clinton Avenue, Suite 719 Albany, NY 12207 518-431-4127 518-431-4121 NewYork.FHWA@dot.gov
In Reply Refer To:
HDA NY
Thank you for meeting on December
13
, 2016 in Washington, DC where we discussed over-the counter sales occurring at the Long Island Expressway Rest Area. Since that meeting, we have also become aware that the New York State Department
of
Transportation NYSDOT) has converted the Broome County Interstate Rest Area operation from self-checkout kiosks
to
traditional over-the-counter sales. The over-the-counter sale
of
products and food at Interstate rest areas is inconsistent with
23
U.S.
C
§11
l a) which provides that no State shall permit
commercial establishments
for
serving motor vehicle users to be constructed or located on the rights-of-way
o
he Interstate System
.
Under 23
US.
C
111
b)
States
may
, however,
permit
the placement
o
vending machines in rest
and
recreation areas,
and
in safety rest areas, constructed or located on rights-of-way
of
he Interstate System to dispense such food, drink,
and
other articles as the State transportation department determines are appropriate
and
desirable. 
Additionally,
23
CFR 752.5 g), provides that
no charge to the
public
may
be made
for
goods
and
services except
for
telephone
and
articles dispensed by vending machines in safety rest areas.
At our December
13
, 2016, meeting in Washington, DC we advised you
of
our concerns with over-the-counter sales and the need for the NYSDOT to quickly bring these operations into compliance to avoid potential sanctions. You subsequently agreed to discontinue over-the counter sales at these Interstate rest areas. We also acknowledge that you asked for a transition period to bring them back into compliance. We agree that you may need a reasonable amount
of
time to modify your operation in these rest areas. To avoid potential sanctions, NYSDOT should cease over-the-counter sales
of
products at the Long Island Expressway and the Broome County Rest Areas
wit in
60 days
of
the date
of
receipt
of
this letter.
 
 
You have also asked for clarification as to whether, in the context
of
the Taste
New
York program to promote agricultural tourism within
New
York State,
NYS OT
may replace over the-counter sales with self-checkout vending in the Broome County and Long Island rest areas. As you are aware, FHW A has sought public comment regarding the need to issue guidance or a rule to clarify how
new
vending technologies fit within the existing statutory framework. While FHW A considers this issue, NYSDOT may proceed with self-checkout vending only in these two locations given that these operations are not commercial in nature and are intended to support and promote tourism. This interim authorization, however, is subject to the State s commitment to refrain from installing and operating self-checkout vending at any other Interstate rest area subject to the restrictions in
23
U.S.C. §
111
. Should the State fail to comply with this commitment, it will (1) be subject to applicable sanction
s
including the withholding
of
federal aid funds and/or project approvals, and (2) need to remove the self-checkout vending installed and operating at all Interstate rest areas, including those in Broome County and Long Island. cc:
G.
Nadeau, FHWA-HOA-1 D. Kim, FHWA-HOA2
W.
Waidelich, FHWA-HOA-3
T.
Echikson, FHW A-HCC-I
J.
Mellow, FHWA-HPA-1
G.
Shepherd, FHWA-HEP-1 T. Everett, FHWA-HIF-1
R.
Arnold, FHW A-Acting-DFS-N Sincerely,
~v ~
Peter Osborn Division Administrator
576648e32a3d8b82ca71961b7a986505