“While some of our colleagues in the state Legislature have attempted to recast your decision in an ideological context to advance their own political agendas, rest assured that the decision to add Chick-fil-A has broad public support and has generated excitement among both our constituents and Thruway travelers,” the Republican Assembly members wrote.
The Thruway Authority awarded the contract to Empire State Thruway Partners to upgrade 27 service areas along interstates 90 and 87. All but four of the facilities will be demolished and rebuilt.
Once completed, the rest stops will feature new amenities and food options. The Thruway Authority announced last week that in addition to Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Panera, Popeyes and Shake Shack will join the restaurant lineup that already includes Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.
Jonathan Dougherty, a spokesperson for the Thruway Authority, explained Monday that Empire State Thruway Partners finalized agreements with Chick-fil-A and other restaurant chains to operate at the new service areas. No state tax or Thruway toll funds are being used to support the project.
“Every restaurant brand included by Empire State Thruway Partners has a contractual responsibility and is legally required, under New York state law, including the New York State Human Rights Law and executive orders, to adhere to the inclusive and non-discriminatory standards that New York state embraces,” Dougherty said.