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Friday, October 4, 2013

Public-private partnership to manage state's highway rest areas

Taken in 1971, this photo shows what the Sunset Point rest area looked like a few decades ago. Many road trips include a visit to at least one rest area along the way…

They give travelers a place to stretch their legs, use the facilities and take a break from the road. But soon, thanks to a new public-private partnership, rest areas may be able to offer even more.

Starting this month, ADOT’s 14 rest areas will be managed under one contract under the agency’s first active public-private partnership. The contract, which took effect on Oct. 1, will mean a better experience for travelers at the rest areas, and will generate additional revenue for AODT that will help fund highway projects.

The agreement
Under the five-year agreement, Infrastructure Corporation of America, a private company, will take over the maintenance and operations of all 14 rest areas and will also implement a sponsorship and advertising program to generate revenue. ADOT will continue to own all 14 rest areas.

Previously, ADOT managed and maintained all of the rest areas under 14 separate contracts with a private company. ADOT’s new contract with Infrastructure Corporation of America streamlines the process and provides travelers with quality service from a company well versed in rest area facilities and upkeep.

The current rest area caretakers will be retained as part of this public-private partnership.

New rest area amenities could be coming soon
As part of the contract, Infrastructure Corporation of America will be able to pursue new amenities at the rest areas to provide a more comfortable experience for travelers. New features could include Wi-Fi access, dog-walking areas, charging stations for electric vehicles and ATM machines. The contract also calls for on-site staff at the rest areas for 16 hours a day.

Travelers will notice advertising signs in the rest areas and sponsorship signs along the highways leading up to the rest areas, which will generate revenue for both ADOT and Infrastructure Corporation of America. The vending machines will remain. The contract does not include adding food and beverage shops within the rest areas (under federal law, ADOT is prohibited from adding restaurants and stores to rest area facilities).

Under the rest area contract, ADOT is guaranteed at least $1 million over the next 10 years from revenues generated from advertising and sponsorships. That money will go into the State Highway Fund for other transportation projects. This new contract will allow ADOT to better track and manage costs at the rest areas, and will enable the agency to focus on its core business of building and maintaining highways.

For more information about ADOT’s P3 program, go to azdot.gov/P3.
Posted by Angela DeWelles   |  Labels:  P3, Rest-areas
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