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McDonnell looking for ways to make highway rest stops cheaper

Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has outlined strategies he will use to cut costs at highway rest stops, including negotiating cheaper deals for maintenance with contractors and better bundling advertising spaces at rest areas to lure more private sponsorship deals.

Highway rest areas became something of a surprise issue of McDonnell's 2009 campaign, after Gov. Tim Kaine (D) closed 19 of them to save money. Operating each area has been costing the state about $500,000 a year. After an outcry from the traveling public, McDonnell promised that if elected, he would reopen the stops--a pledge he fulfilled.

Now he's talking about ways to make operating the rest areas cheaper. In a release Tuesday, his office said he would also like to locate cooperative tourism ventures at rest areas, making them eligible for tourism grants. And McDonnell noted the General Assembly this year launched a study of alternatives to public funding of rest stops--presumably, privatization of the areas--and the results are due Nov. 30. The federal government prohibits private rest stops along the Interstate system.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 6, 2010; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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