Virginia plans to shutter 19 of its 42 rest area facilities by July 21, four of them along Interstate 95, a main travel corridor along the East Coast.

In a cost cutting measure Virginia closed 19 of it rest areas.  It is to save over $9 million a year.  (Source)  I am really torn about this. 

On the one hand, it will cause the drivers to venture off the interstate to patronize local businesses and put some money into local economies.  On the other hand, it will increase traffic in these areas for both cars and large trucks. 

Truckers will no longer have the rest areas to pull into to get a few winks, a soda or a sponge bath in the sink.  So where will the truckers pull over to get a bit of shut eye?  Will they keep driving to the peril of the rest of the drivers?  What about sleepy car drivers?  Where will they pull over to get out, stretch, and regroup before getting back behind the wheel? 

Most of these rest areas just had large renovations so there are dollars (excuse my pun) tossed down the crapper!  If they decide to open them at a later date will they need repairs due to the inactivity? 

A couple of our candidates running for Governor have jumped on the bandwagon.  One, who will remain nameless, proposes having businesses adopt a rest area?  Can you see it now? 

Welcome to the (Insert Your Company Here) Toity we are glad you are here! 

Paper towels with company logos, the toilet paper emblazoned with the company of your choice?  Advertising posters and signs throughout.  Perhaps a greeter that will try to get you to sign up for an IRA, a frequent shopper discount card, a life insurance policy or perhaps with free samples of their latest product. 

Since they are rest areas would the products be of the personal nature?  The Stayfree sample bar?  The Tampax lounge?  And not leaving the guys out “the Itch” spraying bar.  The vending machine will dispense toothbrushes courtesy of Colgate, mouthwash from Listerine, undies from Victoria Secret and Jockey.  I could go on and on. 

Times are tough and we are trying to save money I get that, but why would we close these rest areas?  How many times have you, as you were travelling, stopped in one and picked up a brochure of a local site or got a free map?  The brochures were possibly the springboard for your next trip.  Closing these rest areas will also close the door on some of the tourists that are just passing through and may have stopped since it was close by.  Do we really want to stop commerce? 

Just one more thing that makes me go hmmm…