NATSO Facilitates Two Congressional Visits with Key Lawmakers

NATSO‘s government affairs team helped orchestrate two congressional visits in October, helping put truckstop and travel plaza members in direct contact with congressional leaders.

Congressman Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), an important member of the House Ways and Means Committee, visited TravelCenters of America’s truckstop and training facility in Lodi, Ohio, Oct. 11. Later that week, Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.), possibly the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, visited Iowa 80's newly expanded facility in Effingham, Ill., called the Effingham Chrome Shop.

These visits, facilitated by NATSO, allow Members of Congress to hear and experience first-hand the challenges and policy issues facing the truckstop and travel plaza industry today.

The congressmen toured the respective locations and were briefed by the companies' leadership teams on a host of important issues, including impending federal regulations that will directly impact retailers.

“NATSO has organized more than a half dozen congressional visits this year, and we continue to grow this highly successful program,” said NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs, David Fialkov. “Hosting a visit with your elected officials represents a key opportunity to put a face on our industry and ensure that lawmakers understand how we operate, what we contribute to the economy and what we need to be successful both today and in the future.”

Among the issues discussed at both the TA and Iowa 80 meetings was the need to keep the biodiesel tax credit at the blender level as well as the high transaction fees that retailers must pay each time a customer uses a credit card.

TA also addressed several food-related regulatory concerns, including the Department of Agriculture’s proposed SNAP Rule, which would prohibit retailers from redeeming SNAP benefits if 15 percent or more of their total food sales are for items cooked or heated on-site. Many convenience stores operated by truckstop and travel plazas are located at the same site as quick-serve and/or sit-down restaurants, and this would cause these locations to exceed the proposed 15 percent maximum. NATSO adamantly opposed this proposal.

Iowa 80’s leadership discussed with Rep. Shimkus the industry’s opposition to moving the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from refiners and importers to rack sellers. Because Rep. Shimkus could chair the Energy and Commerce Committee next year, and that committee has jurisdiction over this issue, it is critical that he hear the travel plaza industry's perspective on this important topic.

NATSO members who wish to facilitate a congressional visit to their location are urged to contact David Fialkov, NATSO’s Vice President of Government Affairs at 703-739-8577.



Photos Credit: TravelCenters of America and Iowan 80/NATSO

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman's photo

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
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