A few years ago, when the Arizona Department of Transportation was running on red ink, they closed most of the rest areas on state highways. That, of course, made many people mad. Many areas have since been reopened. A solution to the funding problem would be to license private companies to run the rest areas.
The Arizona Daily Star reports a step in that direction has been taken. “A new deal approved by the Department of Transportation will pay Tennessee-based Infrastructure Corp. of America $18.3 million over five years to tend the rest areas, and allows the company to sell sponsorships for each rest area, as well as commercial advertising space inside each of them.”
But that’s just a baby step. Why not have private companies take over the rest areas and run businesses there to make the areas not just places to pee, but provide other services as well.
I have driven through much of the United Kingdom. There the privately run “motor service areas” feature gas stations, restaurants, variety stores like our Circle-Ks, and often inexpensive motels.
Why can’t Arizona do that?