When Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) visited Joe’s Travel Plaza in Westley, California, he got a behind-the-scenes look at the location’s operations and walked away with greater insight into the industry. During the visit, Kashmir Dhoot, the location’s owner, and David Fialkov, NATSO’s vice president of government affairs, talked with Rep. Denham and took him on a tour of the location. Here are five things the congressman learned during the visit.
How important the last highway bill was to the location. A run down road is bad for business, and Rep. Denham learned that last year’s highway bill, which he helped pass, funded improvements to the road in front of Joe’s Travel Plaza. Dhoot told the congressman that filling the potholes has helped attract drivers and improve business for the location.
Why more road improvements are needed. While the latest highway bill helped the location, Dhoot and Fialkov explained how important a long-term highway funding mechanism is to business that are located along the nation’s highways. During the meeting, Dhoot and Fialkov urged Denham to raise the gas tax and diesel tax to pay for road improvements.
Credit card fees are a major expense and fraud is a concern. During the visit, Dhoot told Rep. Denham that credit card fees and chargebacks are one of the largest expenses the location faces. Dhoot also explained that all of the location’s fraudulent transactions are done with credit cards and encouraged the congressman to support future legislation that would require a pin.
What life is like for drivers on the road. Rep. Denham took time to visit the location’s showers and driver lounge to get a feel for how drivers spend their downtime at the location. He also toured the fuel islands and diesel lanes as well as the c-store and restaurants.
How NATSO is helping connect veterans with key leadership positions in the truckstop and travel plaza industry. As a veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, Rep. Denham is interested in veterans’ issues. During the visit, he learned that NATSO has partnered with FASTPORT to help NATSO members recruit and hire quality veterans and transitioning service members.
Photo Credit: Mindy Long/NATSO
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