So far, four state law makers are against the addition of Chick-fil-A’s to the rest stops along the New York State Thruway due to the company’s history of donating to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, expressed outrage in a letter to Thruway Authority leaders at Chick-fil-A being a part of the $300 million renovation.
Soon after, three openly gay lawmakers, Assemblymembers Harry Bronson of Rochester and Deborah Gluck and Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan, also penned a letter to the authority.
Both letters discussed how New York State and the Thruway authority don’t have their views on civil rights aligned, citing the New York has “long stood on the right side of history and supported the LGBTQ+ community.”
The Thruway Authority struck a deal last year with Empire State Thruway Partners, a consortium of investors that has since been acquired by Applegreen, to lease the 27 service plazas owned by the Thruway Authority for the next thirty years.
In exchange for Applegreen spending $300 million on renovations as well as $51 million in rent and $103 million in improvements, Applegreen will get to keep the bulk of the proceeds from the restaurants and stores inside them.
Various restaurants were announced to occupy the plazas, including Popeye’s, Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, and others.
Applegreen has not released a statement regarding the backlash, but the Thruway Authority has stated that all restaurants will follow the inclusivity standards that New York State embraces, and Chick-fil-A has stated that they do not have a social or political agenda.
This is not the first time lawmakers call for the scrapping of plans with Chick-fil-A; in 2019 plans were cancelled for the opening of the restaurant in Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
The difference with this, however, is that the Thruway rest stop renovations are not being paid for my state taxpayer dollars.
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