We’ve written several times about how state governments are addressing budget cuts by closing rest areas — much to the dismay and danger of drivers who must find a safe place to comply with HOS while trucking freight. And in a move that seemed to mirror other states’ money-saving plans, Connecticut’s new budget plan cut funding to several non-commercial rest areas starting July 1, 2011.
The Connecticut state DOT originally presented the closures to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature as one of several budget-cutting options, with estimated long-term savings of $1.3 million per year.
But on June 1, signs on their highways started warning travelers about the impending closures and a firestorm of protests began. Everyone from the President of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut Michael J. Riley to vacationers en route to the beach contacted the mayor’s office and challenged the move.
And the outcry worked.
On June 8, Rep. Tony Guerrera, General Assembly's Transportation Committee chairman; and Rep. David Scribner, the committee’s ranking House Republican, announced that Gov. Malloy’s office ensured the rest stops would stay open. In fact, Scribner described the situation as “kind of a blessing in disguise” because the discussion brought to light the rest stops’ current condition — and the state may now actually explore ways to renovate them and improve out-of-state travelers’ experience in Connecticut.
Regardless of renovations that may or may not occur, we at Getloaded are happy to hear the stops will remain open and continue providing a safe, legal area for drivers to rest while trucking freight.
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