Virginia is now the first state in the country to have sponsored rest areas.
As a part of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Sponsorship, Advertising and Vending Enhancement (SAVE) initiative, Geico will be sponsoring 43 Virginia safety rest areas and welcome centers in order to help defray the costs of operation. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) made the announcement Thursday.
According to a release from the governor’s office, in April, 2010, McDonnell reopened all of the Commonwealth’s closed rest area facilities that now serve an estimated 33 million visitors each year.
“A three-year contract was awarded to CRH Catering Co., Inc. based in Connellsville, Pa. (with locations in Richmond and Norfolk) to develop and manage a new program to generate additional revenues to help offset operating costs of Virginia rest areas and welcome centers, which total approximately $21 million each year,” said the release.
According to the governor’s office, the contract requires CRH to pay VDOT approximately $2 million annually in revenue generated by the vending program and the new Geico sponsorship.
The new program will include highway signs that direct drivers to Virginia’s safety rest areas and welcome centers where they can safely use their phones.
“My administration has moved aggressively to find innovative solutions for maintaining and operating Virginia's rest areas and welcome centers, which provide a safe place for travelers to rest and gather information about the many attractions and services Virginia has to offer,” said McDonnell in a release. “By partnering with the private sector, we are not only keeping our rest areas open, but we are making our roads safer by discouraging distracted driving.”