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Officials Say New Long Island Rest Stop Violates Federal Law

Office of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
The new "Taste NY" Long Island Welcome Center located adajcent to the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills, Long Island.

The Federal Highway Administration says the new New York Welcome Center along the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills violates federal law.

The multimillion dollar Welcome Center promotes and sells locally produced products and seeks to grow the Long Island agricultural and tourism industries.

The Highway Administration says only vending machines are allowed. New York says the federal statute is outdated and store sales are permitted.   

Federal law bans nearly all commercial activity at interstate highway rest stops built after 1960. Rest stops that currently sell food and sundry items were all originally built before the law went into effect.

Last month, they threatened to cut nearly $1 billion in funding if the state didn’t remove over 500 “I Love NY” signs from state roadways. The Feds say the signs also don’t follow federal standards.

But the state insists the signs and the over-the-counter sales at the new Welcome Center are crucial to its tourism industry.

The Highway Administration will meet with the state later this week to work on these issues.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
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