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US. Department New York Division Leo W .

O'Brien Federal Building
of Trcnsportation 11A Clinton Avenue, Suite 719
Federal Highway Albany, NY 12207
Administration January 19, 2017 518-431-4127
518-431-4121
NewYork.FHWA@dot.gov

In Reply Refer To:
HDA-NY

Mathew Driscoll
Commissioner
New York State Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Street
Albany, NY 12232

Subject: Taste of New York

Dear Commissioner Driscoll:

Thank you for meeting on December 13, 2016 in Washington, DC where we discussed over-the-
counter sales occurring at the Long Island Expressway Rest Area. Since that meeting, we have
also become aware that the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has
converted the Broome County Interstate Rest Area operation from self-checkout kiosks to
traditional over-the-counter sales.

The over-the-counter sale of products and food at Interstate rest areas is inconsistent with 23
U.S.C. §11 l(a) which provides that no State shall permit "commercial establishments for serving
motor vehicle users to be constructed or located on the rights-of-way of the Interstate System."
Under 23 US. C. §111 (b) States may, however, "permit the placement of vending machines in
rest and recreation areas, and in safety rest areas, constructed or located on rights-of-way of the
Interstate System " to "dispense such food, drink, and other articles as the State transportation
department determines are appropriate and desirable." Additionally, 23 CFR 752.5(g), provides
that "no charge to the public may be made for goods and services except for telephone and
articles dispensed by vending machines" in safety rest areas.

At our December 13, 2016, meeting in Washington, DC we advised you of our concerns with
over-the-counter sales and the need for the NYSDOT to quickly bring these operations into
compliance to avoid potential sanctions. You subsequently agreed to discontinue over-the-
counter sales at these Interstate rest areas. We also acknowledge that you asked for a transition
period to bring them back into compliance.

We agree that you may need a reasonable amount of time to modify your operation in these rest
areas. To avoid potential sanctions, NYSDOT should cease over-the-counter sales of products at
the Long Island Expressway and the Broome County Rest Areas within 60 days of the date of
receipt of this letter.
2

You have also asked for clarification as to whether, in the context of the Taste New York
program to promote agricultural tourism within New York State, NYSDOT may replace over-
the-counter sales with self-checkout vending in the Broome County and Long Island rest areas.
As you are aware, FHWA has sought public comment regarding the need to issue guidance or a
rule to clarify how new vending technologies fit within the existing statutory framework. While
FHWA considers this issue, NYSDOT may proceed with self-checkout vending only in these
two locations given that these operations are not commercial in nature and are intended to
support and promote tourism. This interim authorization, however, is subject to the State' s
commitment to refrain from installing and operating self-checkout vending at any other Interstate
rest area subject to the restrictions in 23 U.S .C. § 111 . Should the State fail to comply with this
commitment, it will (1) be subject to applicable sanctions, including the withholding of federal
aid funds and/or project approvals, and (2) need to remove the self-checkout vending installed
and operating at all Interstate rest areas, including those in Broome County and Long Island.

Sincerely,

~v.~
Peter Osborn
Division Administrator

cc:
G. Nadeau, FHWA-HOA-1
D. Kim, FHWA-HOA2
W. Waidelich, FHWA-HOA-3
T. Echikson, FHWA-HCC-I
J. Mellow, FHWA-HPA-1
G. Shepherd, FHWA-HEP-1
T. Everett, FHWA-HIF-1
R. Arnold, FHWA-Acting-DFS-N
US. Department New York Division Leo W . O'Brien Federal Building
of Transportation 11A Clinton Avenue, Suite 719
federal Highway Albany, NY 12207
Administration February 8, 2017 518-431-4127
518-431-4121
NewYork.FHWA@dot.gov

In Reply Refer To:
HD A-NY

Mathew Driscoll
Commissioner
New York State Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Street
Albany, NY 12232

Dear Commissioner Driscoll:

Thank you for your February 1, 201 7 formal response to our January 19, 2017 letter regarding
the Long Island Expressway Rest Area and the Broome County Interstate Rest Area operations
and your agreement to convert the operations to self-checkout vending at these two locations
only.

I also want to clarify that this is not considered an official FHW A Pilot Program and/or
experiment.

We look forward to our continued partnership with the NYSDOT to assist in advancing the
State' s tourism initiatives in a manner that is consistent with Federal laws and regulations.

Sincerely,

~?!~
Division Administrator

cc: W. Waidelich, FHWA-HOA
G. Shepherd, FHWA-HOA
N. Fleury, FHWA-HCC
D. Hecox, FHWA-HPA
T. Everett, FHWA-HIF
M. Knopp, FHWA-HOP
R. Arnold, FHW A-Acting-DFS-N