NABM and NATSO Call on Vendors to Oppose Proposed Toll Legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Manager of Special Projects
National Association of Blind Merchants
(866) 543-6808, extension 10
Colorado Springs, Colorado (February 15, 2013) — The National Association of Blind Merchants calls on blind vendors and partners to act in concert with the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) to oppose new toll road proposals in Virginia and North Carolina which would harm business opportunities.
As many in the vending and Randolph-Sheppard community will recall, the National Federation of the Blind and the National Association of Blind Merchants joined a number of leading organizations such as NATSO when uniting to defeat the Portman amendment. That amendment would have destroyed thousands of businesses on our nation’s highways.
“We must take action to oppose new toll efforts in states like North Carolina and Virginia, which would have little appreciable impact on state revenue while significantly damaging small businesses along the interstate,” said Nicky Gacos, President, National Association of Blind Merchants.
In North Carolina, the proposal is to place tolls approximately every 20 miles along the stretch of I-95, a major East Coast interstate, throughout the state. While federal law prohibits interstate tolling, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program allows up to three facilities on the interstate system to toll for the purpose of financing the construction of new interstate highways. North Carolina has applied for this program and thus gained preliminary approval.
Virginia is also in the FHWA Pilot Program and is petitioning for a single tolling location on I-95 in the southern part of the state. National Association of Blind Merchants joins NATSO in the belief that the revenue will quickly be revealed as insufficient, and Virginia will petition for more tolls along the interstate corridor which will harm small businesses along I-95 from Fredericksburg, Virginia and south. Unlike North Carolina, Virginia legislators have already successfully gotten anti-tolling language inserted into transportation legislation, but still needs support to move the effort forward on the floor.
NABM and NATSO call upon all blind merchants to sign the North Carolina petition to withdraw the FHWA application (http://notollsi95.com/) and Virginia petition (http://www.virginiatollfree95.com/) to support the anti-tolling language in the current transportation bills. NABM and NATSO care greatly about the sustainability of small business owners not only throughout North Carolina and Virginia, but also throughout the nation.
About National Association of Blind Merchants
The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM), a division the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), is a membership organization of blind persons employed in either self-employment work or the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Program. We provide information regarding rehabilitation, social security, tax, and other issues which directly affect blind merchants. NABM serves as an advocacy and support group.
About National Association of Truck Stop Operators
NATSO has been representing travel plaza and truck stop owners and operators for over 50 years and pursues a clear mission: to advance the success of truck stop and travel plaza members by delivering solutions to members’ challenges and achieving the public policy goals of the truck stop and travel plaza industry. Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., NATSO is the only national trade association representing the travel plaza and truck stop industry. It represents more than 1,230 travel plazas and truck stops nationwide, owned by over 200 corporate entities.