By Rebecca Blatt
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says the Commonwealth will reopen 19 highway rest stops that were closed last year as a cost-cutting measure.
McDonnell says the rest stop closures presented the image of a Virginia "closed for business," and he says that was not only bad for tourism, but also unsafe for travelers. In a unanimous vote, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a plan to reopen the rest stops by the middle of next month.
It calls for using $3 million from a maintenance reserve fund to operate the facilities through the end of this fiscal year. McDonnell says the state will work with business leaders to develop and adopt a rest stop program to defray future costs. He is also asking the Department of Corrections to supply nonviolent inmate work crews for maintenance, landscaping and repair.