NATSO, representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, and Donna’s Travel Plaza today thanked U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen, (D-Wash.) for visiting its Tulalip, Wash., location to learn about the extensive measures taken by the truckstop and travel plaza industry to safeguard employees and customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to learn more about travel center companies' investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Congressman Larsen, representing Washington state's second Congressional District, received a briefing on the specific steps the fuel retailer has taken to adjust operations and ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers. Congressman Larsen also discussed with Donna’s owner Brian Couch the recent partnership between Donna's and EV charging infrastructure vendor ChargePoint to receive grant money to invest in several EV charging stations at the truckstop. This partnership is part of the ongoing collaboration between NATSO and ChargePoint to create market and policy conditions amenable to private sector investment in EV charging infrastructure.
Donna's leadership team encouraged Congressman Larsen to ensure that Congress does not undermine private sector investment in EV charging by allowing charging stations at Interstate rest areas. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would permit EV charging infrastructure at Interstate rest areas. If this policy became law, Donna's and other similarly situated travel center companies would be unlikely to pursue EV charging investments.
During the visit, Donna’s officials also emphasized the vital role that travel stops play in helping people and goods move throughout our country. The Department of Homeland Security declared truckstops and travel plazas as essential businesses in its Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure workforce. Truckstops and travel plazas across the United States remained open during the pandemic while complying with all state and local orders to ensure that the nation’s truck drivers hauling critical supplies had places to find fuel, food and rest.
“We appreciate that Representative Larsen took time to learn about the critical role that the truckstop and travel plaza industry plays in serving America’s drivers who keep freight moving throughout the country,” said NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman. “The truckstop and travel plaza industry has been unwavering in its commitment to its employees and the nation’s truck drivers since the nation first began grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the supply chain, we are committed to doing our part to keeping employees and truck drivers safe. We are grateful to Representative Larsen for recognizing these efforts and for being such a great champion for the travel center industry.”
The travel plaza and truckstop industry continues to take precautions to protect the health and safety of its employees and customers. In addition to following recommended guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, truckstops and travel plazas have increased cleaning and sanitization efforts and implemented social distancing protocols throughout their locations. These include the installation of plexiglass at retail counters, regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, including fuel dispensers, and upgrades to touchless technology. The industry also has adjusted food offerings to include more grab-and-go options as well as curbside pickup.
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