Shared by Donnie Anderson, ICBV Chairman
This is a reminder that the comment period for The privatization of our rest areas ends December 27. If you (99.7% of blind managers “, SLAs and staff have not) please do so with the following link.
In the docket search field, enter “FHWA-2016-0021”
Please see my comments below that I submitted on October 11th 2016. The incoming Trump administration has signaled to the legislature that it favors this policy regardless of the impacts the blind managers and will make it a priority to commercialize your rest area. Blind vendors will very likely not have the income that they wanted or even perhaps any income whatsoever from our nations rest stops. The incoming Trump administration and conservatives in Congress have the interests of big business not our BEP businesses and they are chomping at the bit to boot you to the street. Their priority is the shift text pair of dollars to private corporations which is been going on for years it will just be ramped up now. Without a fight they will change the landscape of this economy – disabled, less educated, poor folks, browns and blacks will all be ground under this obnoxious machine so get active!
I’ll tell you who has been active – very active and very excited -in their comments and that is the private companies looking to siphon off public dollars to be spent on their private corporations in that famous “public/private partnership” that dooms your future earning potential not just at rest areas but everywhere.
See my comments below and make your own known. This is the first step into getting it together to resist this on slot and believe me it will be a massive attempt to crush the blind vendor.
“There is no doubt that the federal law and it’s implementing regulations regarding retail and food service activities at rest area sites are governed by the Kinnelley amendment to the Randolph-Sheppard act. With that understanding any changes to what is done and practiced commercially at rest areas would be governed by that law. The Randolph Sheppard community would gladly embrace expanded entrepreneurial endeavors that would benefit the traveling public and expand opportunities to blind individuals across the nation’s highways. We support expanded commercial activities that allow for blind entrepreneurs to focus on local and regional suppliers of healthy food options and locally produced items. The Randolph-Sheppard community including the blind managers themselves have invested millions of dollars over the years in vending equipment to satisfy the needs of the traveling public. We are ready and willing to expand into gift stores and larger commercial endeavors. Any public private partnerships should be governed by the existing Randolph-Sheppard community themselves as is set forth in the Act. Any attempt to privatize the rest areas and eliminate or marginalize the independent blind entrepreneur (simply push the vending machines in a corner while an outside company runs a retail shop) will be met with strict legal and civil resistance. Obviously this is not an issue to be left to the states and any assertion to do so citing “overregulation” would be done by typically a very well healed private construction contractor or retail operator with an agenda to privatize federal regulation and services. This is most certainly a FHWA program utilizing federal dollars that fund highways and in part rest areas and should be governed by federal oversight. I would argue in fact that more needs to be done through federal oversight when rest areas are closed due to certain states inability to function in the best interest of its citizens as in the entire past year in Illinois. Thank You.”
Chairman, Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors