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Office of the Administrator 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

Notice of Enforcement Discretion

Operation of Commercial Food Trucks in Federally Funded Interstate Highway Rest Areas

During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)

U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration


As a general matter, Federal law, codified at 23 U.S.C. 111, prohibits commercial activity in Interstate Highway rest areas as a condition of Federal funding. Nevertheless, in administering the Federal-aid highway funding program, the FHWA Administrator is given wide discretion under 23 CFR 1.36 to enforce the requirements of section 111 through compliance actions that the Administrator determines are appropriate under the circumstances.

The Nation is experiencing extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances due to the current COVID-19 national public health emergency, in which States have been forced to close restaurants and other available food service accommodations, including in Interstate Highway rest areas. FHWA recognizes that in those States food trucks may provide vital sustenance for interstate commercial truck drivers and others who are critical to the Nation's continued ability to deliver needed food and relief supplies to the communities impacted by the economic disruptions and healthcare strains caused by COVID-19. FHWA also recognizes that in such circumstances, vending machines may not be adequate to provide the necessary sustenance, and in many cases the vending machines may not be regularly stocked at the present time.

Accordingly, for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, if a State determines that permitting food trucks to operate and sell food in any designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas is necessary to support interstate commercial truck drivers, FHWA will refrain from taking any remedial action under the Federal-aid highway program against that State. States must come back into compliance with the applicable restrictions of section 111 once the presidentially declared emergency ends. Any State that fails to come back into compliance after the end of the declared national emergency will be subject to potential remedial measures. Additionally, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 156(b), for the limited purpose of permitting food trucks to operate as described in this notice, FHWA grants an exception during the COVID-19 emergency to the requirement to charge fair market value for the sale, use, lease, or lease renewal of any real property acquired with Federal assistance.

This notice does not affect any other Federal, State, or local requirements that apply to food trucks, and it does not authorize food trucks to operate in violation of Federal, State, or local requirements, including any State and local orders responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

These provisions shall remain in effect until the Emergency Declaration ends.

Page posted on April 3, 2020
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000