The State of Rhode Island owns a rest stop in Lincoln — on 295 — and the state couldn’t tell The Providence Journal how much it costs to operate (seriously). Within that rest stop, the state leases some space to a local business man who runs The Outpost. The Federal Government forced him to remove his sign and is in the process of shutting him down completely.
In a report by The Providence Journal from Dec. 2015, the state-owned facility in Lincoln is in violation of federal terms:
According to Federal Highway Division Administrator Carlos Machado’s July 14 letter to Alviti demanding an end to The Outpost, “a State may not allow commercial activities on the right-of-way of the Interstate System,” except for pay phones and, under certain circumstances, vending machines.
The Journal also reports that the state knew about the federal restrictions, and chose to ignore them. There are records of correspondence between RI and the Federal Highway Administration that date back to the 80s.
Interestingly, the space originally housed a Dunkin Donuts. The state built the space specifically for a Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin closed its doors a few years back and the space is now leased to the area business man mentioned above. The State of Rhode Island spent millions of tax-payer dollars on a Dunkin Donuts and tried to get around federal regulations by locating the rest stop within a State Park!
Should we be confident that this will never happen again? What regulations will RIDOT sneak around in Hopkinton?