Just days after the Indiana Department of Transportation announced plans to permanently close six rest areas because of budget woes, the state of Vermont followed suit and plans to close four rest areas there.
While this means truckers won’t have access to restroom facilities or other services, truckers will still be allowed to park at the sites in Vermont, according to Gerry Myers, the state’s commissioner of Buildings and General Services.
Myers said his department and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have discussed the issue and “right now the plan to go ahead and plow the spots.”
However, he said he wasn’t sure whether they will offer portable facilities at the rest areas slated for closure.
“We’re trying to work and find out how other (states) who have closed rest areas – because we’re not the first to do this – about how they’ve dealt with some of those issues,” he told Land Line Magazine on Thursday, Dec. 18.
Vermont and Indiana are facing significant budget shortfalls in 2009 and are looking at cost-cutting measures, including closing rest areas. Vermont projects its shortfall to be around $60 million, while Indiana is looking at a $763 million budget deficit.
The Vermont rest areas scheduled for closing include:
- Rest area at Highgate at mile marker 129 on Interstate 89;
- Rest area at Sharon at mile marker 13 on Interstate 89;
- Rest area at Randolph at mile marker 30 on Interstate 89; and
- The rest area at Hartford at mile marker 70 on Interstate 91.
OOIDA Life Member Darrell Hicks of Tulare, CA, spent his career in the trucking industry driving from coast to coast. He said he opposes the closing of rest areas for “weary, tired” travelers passing through those states.
“We, the taxpayers, paid for those with our fuel taxes and the bureaucrats should remember who uses them,” Hicks said in an e-mail to Land Line Magazine on Wednesday, Dec. 17. “It makes me sick to see more and more closed.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer