Iowa DOT Sponsorship Plan could Benefit Iowa Travelers

Tom Warne Report, 25 September 2013

Messenger News – September 19, 2013

AMES, Iowa – Drivers on Iowa’s interstates may soon see new signs. The Iowa Department of Transportation is seeking proposals for sponsorship of the state’s 37 interstate rest areas to raise money. Bids are due by Oct. 9, and organizations can sponsor multiple rest areas.

The revenue will be deposited into the primary road fund to help offset rest area and highway costs, and help pay for improvements. The minimum bid accepted for sponsorship of a rest area is $7,500 for a three-year contract. Sponsorship includes the business name or logo placed on signs with a blue background posted at highway entrances to the rest area as well as inside the facility.

As many states face the need to cut costs, some have been forced to close rest areas. Other states are looking at the sponsorship alternative, including Virginia and New Jersey. Ohio issued a request for proposals last year to privatize 59 non-interstate rest areas, but did not receive any bids. Michigan announced in July it is seeking to partner with public entities to privatize two of its non-interstate rest areas. Missouri announced in May that it would convert two of its rest areas to truck parking-only facilities.

Rest areas cost money to stay open, and I’m guessing $7,500 will not cover costs, not even close. However, out of the box thinking is where we need to be and every little bit helps. We wish them great success. JN

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