March 25th, 2011

Virginia offers naming rights for rest areas

The News and Advance

The state is offering naming rights to its highway rest stops and welcome centers.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said the Virginia Department of Transportation will solicit proposals from private sector firms to sponsor and advertise at the state facilities and maintain vending at the 42 locations.

“By partnering with the private sector, we will save taxpayer dollars and keep our rest areas and welcome centers open,” he said.

Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for McDonnell, said the Federal Highway Administration places restrictions on commercial use of rest areas, but vending areas may be named after a sponsor, and even flower beds can be sponsored by private entities.

In 2009, then-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine shut down 19 highway rest stops for a cost savings of $9 million, saying there wasn’t enough money to keep them open. McDonnell reopened the rest stops in April 2010.

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