Virginia First State to Sell Naming Rights to Rest Stops

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The 33 million travelers who visit Virginia rest stops each year may soon notice the floral landscaping or vending areas “sponsored by” familiar business names.
Tight for cash, the state government has decided to sell the naming rights to its 42 rest stops and welcome centers to help cover the $20 million in annual operating and maintenance costs. Officials figure this approach is better than shuttering roadside rest areas, which the state did two years ago when it closed down 19 stops for an eight-month period.
The state will be limited in selling off naming opportunities, due to Federal Highway Administration rules that restrict commercial exploitation on federally-funded roads. But Virginia can make vending areas and flower beds available for corporate sponsorship, at an annual cost of at least $3.4 million.
Other states considering the same idea for their rest areas include New Jersey and Illinois. Florida reportedly is thinking of selling the naming rights to state-owned transportation properties, including highways and parks.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
State Seeks Sponsorships for Highway Rest Stops (by Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch)


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