Monday, February 23, 2009

Virginia eyes closing 25 rest stops

Virginia eyes closing 25 rest stops

By Jill Dunn

Virginia’s transportation department is considering closing 25 of its 41 rest stops as part of a plan to cope with a projected $2.6 billion shortfall.

The Virginia Department of Transportation presented this action as part of its “Blueprint for the Future” at the Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting outlining cuts to be made over the next six years.

VDOT will lay off 450 hourly employees statewide next month as its first step of cutting staffing costs and will continue staff reduction through 2010.

The department will hold meetings in March to obtain feedback on the proposed cuts before the CTB makes final plan decisions in June, said Jeff Caldwell, VDOT communications chief.

Department officials selected the rest stops to be closed based on age, condition, visitor count, available services, relationship to tourism and number of truck stops nearby. One rest area that will remain open is on Interstate 64 because it is the only rest stop between Richmond and Virginia Beach, Caldwell said.

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