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Thursday, October 29, 2009

State to expand liquor stores, add fast food at I-93 rest stops

The Union Leader's Dan O'Brien reports on efforts to add services to the Hooksett rest stops on I-93 in order to generate more revenue for the Liquor Commission.
The state Department of Transportation is taking bids from developers to expand the site into an inclusive rest stop for motorists, which would include fast food restaurants, expanded informational centers, restroom facilities and renovated liquor stores.

If the project is completed, it would be the only such highway rest stop in the state.
The I-93 rest stops are a great location for a restaurant catering to hungry tourists on their way to and from lakes, mountains, and racetracks. Leasing the public space to private companies makes sense, though local fast food operators won't be happy with the competition subsidized by the state's prime real estate. The real problem with the deal is that Governor Lynch has already planned on spending the 30 years of lease payments immediately. Auctioning off such a valuable asset for a one-time boost in revenues is recklessly irresponsible. Let's hope the state takes a more responsible approach, and spends the lease revenue over the life of the lease.

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