The truckstop and travel plaza industry on May 12 testified before Congress on the important role that the industry plays in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), providing a convenient place for economically disadvantaged citizens to purchase food.
Testifying on behalf of NATSO before the House Committee on Agriculture, Love’s Vice President of Human Resources and Government Affairs Carl Martincich also said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed SNAP rule will negatively impact travel plazas that redeem SNAP benefits.
“As written, the proposal would effectively ban the truckstop and travel plaza industry from continuing to redeem SNAP benefits, harming not only those businesses but more importantly the customers who have come to rely on them to buy food for their families,” Martincich testified. “USDA has gone too far with this proposal. If finalized, it would effectively prohibit our industry from participating in SNAP, and thereby harm the SNAP beneficiaries the agency is charged with helping.”
Martincich testified on how the proposed rule 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.
"Let us not lose sight of the fact that the SNAP program is designed to make the lives of America's most economically vulnerable citizens easier, rather than harder," Martincich testified. "I am hopeful that the travel plaza industry can continue serving these customers and playing our part in fulfilling this purpose for many years to come."
Members of Congress at the hearing were uniformly supportive of NATSO's position. NATSO will be filing comments with USDA on the proposed rule on May 18. It is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.
Truckstops and travel plaza operators that redeem SNAP benefits play an important role in the SNAP program, especially in areas where there are few other locations for financially challenged Americans to purchase food.
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