As states continue to struggling to balance their budgets, state Department of Transportation officials are seeking creative ways to keep money flowing into its coffers.
Recently, the Iowa Department of Transportation announced it sent out request for proposal notices on Friday, Sept. 13, seeking sponsorships for its 37 interstate rest areas.
However, Steve McMenamin, Iowa DOT rest area administrator, told Land Line on Wednesday, Sept. 18, that the money raised through the sponsorship program will not be earmarked solely for rest area operating costs, but will be deposited into the primary road fund to be used for road improvement projects as well.
He said the operating cost to maintain the rest areas, including janitorial and mowing costs, is around $3.7 million. Entities may opt to sponsor one or more rest areas, according to an Iowa DOT release about the program.
McMenamin said the plan is to have the contracts in and the sponsorship signs going up at its interstate rest areas by the first week of November, pending approval of sponsors’ artwork proposals.
“Everyone is looking for ways to find money. And once the Federal Highway Administration authorized this program, that opened the doors,” McMenamin said. “We are using the rest areas (sponsorships) as the instrument, but the funds are not dedicated to rest area operations.”
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