Malloy budget includes closing seven rest areas

Excerpt from News-Times article:

All seven rest areas along interstate highways in Connecticut, including the one off Exit 2 on I-84, would be closed under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s $20 million budget for 2017-18.

Closing the rest areas is expected to save $534,000 yearly by eliminating the positions of 12 rest area attendants. The proposal does not affect service plazas.

The other six rest areas slated to be closed are in Southington off I-84, in Wallingford and Middletown off Interstate 91, in North Stonington off Interstate 95 and two areas in West Willington.

Local legislators and the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, which advocates for the trucking industry, say the rest areas are important to the traveling public and urged the state to reconsider.

Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said keeping the rest areas open is a safety issue.

“We think closing the rest areas compromises the safety of truckers, as well as restricting the rest and sleep breaks that are federally required,” he said.

He suggests reallocating the $500,000 set aside in the budget for mass transit marketing and other funds set aside for the yet-to-open rail line from Springfield, Mass., to Hartford and New Haven.

“While other modes of transportation are developing, we can’t forget the highway users,” Sculley said.

He also questioned whether mass transit needs more marketing, based on recent ridership numbers.

“It seems the general public knows about their mass transit options,” Sculley said.

Read the full article online.