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Virginia reopens more rest areas

VDOT plans to reopen 19 rest stops that were closed last year because of budget cuts. (The Washington Post)

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will be on hand in Dinwiddie as the commonwealth continues to reopen rest areas closed in 2009.

The ribbon cutting on Wednesday will mark the reopening of the Interstate 85 north and south rest stops. They are two of eight set to reopen on Wednesday. Others reopening include the two rest stops at mile marker 48 on I-66 in Manassas; the two at mile marker 232 on I-81 in Mt. Sidney; and the two at mile marker 155 on I-95 in Dale City.

The rest areas were among 19 rest stops that were closed last year by then-Gov. Tim Kaine to save the Virginia Department of Transportation $9 million. All the remaining rest stops are scheduled to reopen by April 15.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it will use its emergency maintenance reserve fund to operate the rest stops through the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The agency says it will identify long-term funding this spring as it revises its maintenance budget.

-- Wire and staff reports

By Michael Bolden  |  March 17, 2010; 9:12 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , highways  | Tags: VDOT  
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Closing them and reopening them must have cost quite a bit more money than if they had just left them open. They took down signs, boarded up the windows, and installed new gates to keep people from entering. Now they reversed it a few months later to reopen them. The whole thing is laughable.

Posted by: rocotten | March 17, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It's about time. We paid to build and staff those rest areas, and for a state that thrives on tourism, this was certainly a blight on our reputation. Plus those folks who worked there need their jobs back. All these years of Republican rule are sure showing in our state, our economy and the lives of every citizen.

Posted by: capone1 | March 17, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Government control of where you go to the bathroom!!! How dare they tell me where I can pee or poo!!?? Why don't they privatize the potty?? This send the wrong message and is just another example of those lily-bladdered latte-sipping liberals wanting government to do everything!! Why should my taxes pay for people who are just too weak to hold it!

I'm going to start a fertilized grass root political movement, the Pee-Party! Americans have a constitutional right to go anywhere they want, not just in government sanctioned receptacles. No Can Doo!

Posted by: thebobbob | March 17, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Great, I wonder how many teachers are going to get pink slips so this moron can reopen rest areas no one needs? This guys priorities are so absurd its hard to even relate to what he is doing. The first thing he does in office is allow guns in bars and opens rest areas. Way to lead!

Posted by: rc95959 | March 17, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't know whether or not money was saved, but I do know from routinely traveling up and down I95 that some of the closed rest stops were in very remote areas without nearby dining and restroom options while some that remained opened were close to well-populated areas with plenty of restaurants. That never made any sense.

Posted by: couper | March 17, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Nine-million "saved" bucks? Say, that's the amount that Prince William County's IT Department employees stole over a 5-year period. So much for stewardship of citizens' tax dollars. Not only will the county and state never recoup those swiped dollars, but nobody seems to know where the accused ARE at this time. Maybe enjoying their booty in the Cayman Islands, or some other tropical safe haven for crooks and their bank accounts?

Posted by: kinkysr | March 17, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Great idea, Stone Age Bob. Close schools, lay off teacher, but open those potties. What a maroon.

Posted by: Jayne | March 17, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Good move on reopening the rest areas. Now when I need to evacuate waste I won't have to look for the yard of a unionized overpaid incompetent "educator" to go in.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | March 17, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Taking money from maintenance? Is that why all those potholes on the roads haven't been filled yet?

Posted by: eandab2003 | March 17, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I-95 is not remote. It is one of the highest trafficked interstates in America. There is no need for government to step in where gas stations and fast food joints are doing just fine.

Posted by: corrections | March 17, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

As a VA Tech Hokie alumni, I can't imagine a road trip between NOVA and Blacksburg without those rest areas on I 81. I think my buddies and I hit every single one of them every time we rolled down. If we'd had to duck out to highway 11 to hit some Burger King every time we needed a rest room, it would have added hours to our trip, and potentially made us late to many parties. Lets get them back open on 81 ASAP, in fact, build a few more on the northbound side!

Posted by: jack_mo_99 | March 17, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The Governor should be congratulated for opening these rest areas. The previous Govt spent a lot of money on welfare for Illegals while the citizens rich or poor were denied the rest areas.Money wasted in closing and reopening them did cost the tax payers for no fault of theirs.
The objective of the Government should be to make sure that the citizens who pay taxes should not face further hardship in this economy in any way.

Posted by: ganeshan | March 17, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I love to see a rest area when I need/want one, but I could absolutely do without to free up money for mental health care beds, health care, schools, etc. And why couldn't we have pay toilets at rest areas to help pay for them? Or use the snack machines to make enough money to pay for them? Rest areas vs mental health--good grief.

Posted by: dblue | March 17, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

blip on the radar people, chill out, go get a green beer.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | March 17, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

How about toll booths at the VA/NC line on I-95. Try getting from Va to Boston on I-95 and you'll hit one or more tolls in every state. It's a cash cow and why shouldn't interstate commerce help pay for the roads!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | March 17, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Springfield to Dale City can take as long as two hours on some typical summer afternoons. Asking people to wait that long in traffic and then have them get off the highway to use the restrooms at a Mall or Restaurants--is foolish.

First of all, the Mall's and Restaurants don't want the crowds or extra expenses trust upon them. And second, I don't want a bunch of lost out-of-towners wandering around my neighborhood roads, making illegal u-turns or running lights out of frustration and road fatigue.

The Dale City Rest Stop had been there for twenty years, or longer. People came to rely on it as a place to relax and freshening up when traveling the east cost via I-95. It's out of civility that it reopens, and remains open.

Posted by: gregbedrosian | March 17, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

All these years of Republican rule are sure showing in our state, our economy and the lives of every citizen.

Posted by: capone1 | March 17, 2010 12:08 PM


News flash, capone1. It was a Democrat who closed the rest stops and a Republican who reopened them.


Great idea, Stone Age Bob. Close schools, lay off teacher, but open those potties. What a maroon.

Posted by: Jayne | March 17, 2010 2:24 PM


Guest what, moron? Maybe if Kaine hadn't blown the state budget on school funding for rural counties who don't pay their fair share of property taxes and on free health insurance for children of middle class families in those same counties, the rest stops wouldn't have been closed in the first place. Raise property taxes in the rural counties to the same rates as northern Virginia and maybe the schools there won't need handouts from us via Richmond.

Posted by: hisroc | March 17, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Great, now we can spend tax dollars to enable the snowbirds to fly through the state without spending a nickel. Meanwhile, we can lay off teachers and health workers.

Posted by: idontlikeyour | March 17, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Opening them back up is a great idea, but at least rent space to chik-fil-a and turn a profit that can be used for education and healthcare. Dumping money into a non-revenue-generating toilet facility that only serves to get people through and out of our state without buying anything is really dumb. Maryland and NJ have the right idea. Sell gas, burgers, lottery tickets and trinkets to the snowbirds and generate revenue for the state.

Posted by: idontlikeyour | March 17, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Open rest stops, flush away a child's education. What is WRONG with this governor???

Posted by: zenetanar | March 17, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse


States that receive funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund are prohibited from operating commercial concessions at their rest stops on interstate highways. Virginia's Congressional delegation has been trying to get that changed for years, but the restaurant and gas station industry associations' lobbyists have blocked such a move.

States that have commercial concessions at their rest stops, such as Maryland and New Jersey, were grandfathered in when the prohibition was imposed.

Posted by: hisroc | March 17, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Open rest stops, flush away a child's education. What is WRONG with this governor???

Posted by: zenetanar



Most of the counties in the southside and southwest of Virginia have property tax rates ranging from 47 cents to 68 cents. In Arlington it is $1.023. In Fairfax it is $1.23. In Prince William it is $1.34.


The question is not what is wrong with this governor. The question is what is wrong with the rural counties that they won't pay taxes to support their kids' education and expect Richmond to do it with other peoples' money.

Posted by: hisroc | March 18, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

If Dale City wants a rest stop so bad, Dale City can fund it.

Virginia is literally flushing money down the toilet.

Posted by: corrections | March 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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