Friday, January 22, 2010

ATA Welcome Return Of Truck Parking

Reversal of Policy Decision will Decrease Dangers
Shipping News Feature

VIRGINIA - US – A decision to permanently close 19 safety rest areas and welcome centres made last year by the Commonwealth Transportation Board was reversed this week after lobbying by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Virginia Trucking Association (VTA). The original decision to reduce such facilities in the state from 42 to 23 was made for budgetary reasons but was criticised as “the wrong place to cut funds” by the ATA.

Drivers considered that there were already insufficient parking facilities in Virginia, particularly for interstate freight movements and abandoning any of the existing rest stops was considered by many to be a dangerous move. Dale Bennett, VTA President and CEO commented:

“We applaud Gov. McDonnell for taking these steps to help prevent driver fatigue and provide safe, secure parking spaces for truck drivers to comply with federal hours of service regulations.”

Gov. McDonnell said he plans to personally welcome travellers to the first rest area reopening in February. The gates at closed areas will come down after workers reconnect power and water, stock traveller information centres, clean the facilities, install vending machines and restore the grounds. The Virginia Department of Transportation will use $3 million from its maintenance reserve fund to operate the facilities until June 30, and will identify long-term funding during revisions of budget this spring, a state spokesman said. The state also plans to improve the rest areas and welcome centres to make them more attractive and inviting.

A map of the reopened rest areas is available here.