NATSO: HMSHost's Contract With Delaware Bad for Business, Consumers

Says new Welcome & Travel Center threatens businesses near interchanges

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- NATSO president and CEO Lisa Mullings said, "In discussing its 35-year contract with HMSHost Corp. to operate the Delaware Welcome & Travel Center, the state of Delaware has grossly exaggerated the benefits of this agreement and failed to inform local residents, businesses and consumers about the deal's significant downside."

The Delaware Welcome & Travel Center, located between exits 1 and 3 along Interstate 95 near Wilmington, Del., was set to open June 28. HMSHost and its fuel partner, Sunoco, invested approximately $35 million to finance, design [image-nocss] and construct the facility. (Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)

In a statement, Mullings added, "Contrary to claims that the facility will serve as an economic tool generating jobs and state revenue, the Delaware Travel Center represents nothing more than a monopoly that threatens to cripple the many businesses offering food, fuel and other retail services near the I-95 exit interchanges."

She continued, "With direct access to highway motorists, the state now operates at a significant advantage over the businesses that depend on motorists exiting the Interstate. The 4.5 million visitors HMSHost claims it will service are 10 times what many local businesses would see in terms of visitors. This deal represents a classic example of government teaming up with big business to squeeze out small business.

"While nearby businesses are left to flounder, consumers undoubtedly will pay hidden taxes in the form of higher costs for goods and services as the state seeks to recoup its investment.

Furthermore, the state of Delaware has said that beginning today it will balance its budget without regard for the needs of local communities. Local businesses typically pay more in local taxes than it will cost HMSHost to maintain the Travel Center. Without thriving businesses, local communities will lose jobs and the significant tax revenues that pay for public services like schools, police and fire departments.

"Delaware's so-called 'best investment' in reality rings the death knell for local communities."

Click herefor NATSO's Jobs Next Exit website for more details.

The National Association of Truck Stop Operators represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.