The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced that it is seeking to partner with public entities to privatize two of its non-interstate rest areas.
In an announcement issued last week, MDOT said it is in the information-gathering stage to determine what is possible in financing and building infrastructure and that the agency is accepting letters of interest until mid-August from businesses, including restaurants and food vendors.
The two rest areas proposed for partnership projects are the Higgins Lake and Houghton Lake facilities along U.S. 127 in Roscommon County. The department is seeking feedback from entities that would be interested in providing improvements or services at one or both of the rest areas.
Federal law prohibits states from offering commercial services at rest areas built along the Interstate Highway System after 1960.
While federal law does not preclude states from adding commercial services to rest areas along non-interstate routes, similar efforts in other states have failed to gain traction.
Last year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) issued a proposal to privatize 59 non-interstate rest areas. That effort solicited no responses from developers despite public meetings with ODOT about the project.
NATSO opposes commercial rest areas, which represent government intrusion into the private sector and put the state in direct competition with private businesses.
This article originally ran in NATSO News, NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NATSO News is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.
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