Washington state bill would privatize rest areas

| Thursday, January 16, 2003

Legislation introduced in Washington state this month seeks to privatize rest areas in order to free up state transportation revenue and increase travelers’ benefits.

HJM4001, introduced by state Rep. Toby Nixon (R-45th District), asks President Bush to grant a federal waiver permitting private or nonprofit entities to operate rest areas in the state.

“The ability to obtain collaborative transportation partnerships will supplement state transportation revenues … allowing the state of Washington to use its limited resources for a greater number of transportation projects,” Nixon wrote. In addition, “Safety rest area sites would benefit the traveling public and contribute to the economic development of nearby communities.”

“Why not? Adequate parking has been a huge problem for truckers,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston said. “With the states so strapped for money and rest areas so far down on their spending lists, it makes even more sense to privatize these rest areas.”

The bill has been sent to the House Transportation Committee.

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