A Welcome Center off the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills will switch to self-checkout kiosks to comply with the Federal Highway Administration. The switch is the result of a conflict with the federal government over that welcome center.
A 1956 federal law bans over-the-counter sales at rest areas on interstate highways. The law tries to protect local businesses so travelers on the road would have to head in town to get food.
Rest stops that sold food and were opened before the law went into effect, such as those on the New York State Thruway and Connecticut Turnpike, were grandfathered in.
The state had until March to make the switch from over-the-counter sales or risk losing millions in federal funding.
The multimillion-dollar Welcome Center sells locally produced products. State officials defended the center as a way to promote Long Island’s agriculture and tourism industries.