RICHMOND, VA -- CRH Catering Co. has been awarded a three-year vending contract at Virginia's rest areas and welcome centers, where Geico will sponsor Safe Phone Zones. The public and private partnerships are expected to defray the estimated $21 million annual cost of operating the 43 roadside facilities.
The Safe Phone Zones program, which aims to reduce distracted driving, includes highway signs that encourage motorists to pull over to rest areas and rest stops where they can safely use their mobile phones and devices.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said Virginia is the first state in the country to secure a sponsor as part of the Virginia Department of Transportation's Sponsorship, Advertising and Vending Enhancement (SAVE) initiative.
In April 2010, McDonnell reopened all of the commonwealth's closed rest area facilities that now serve an estimated 33 million visitors each year. | SEE STORY
"By partnering with the private sector, we are not only keeping our rest areas open, but we are making our roads safer by discouraging distracted driving," said Gov. McDonnell.
Pennsylvania's CRH Catering Co., which has locations in Richmond and Norfolk, VA, will develop and manage a new program to generate additional revenues that will help offset operating costs Virginia rest areas and welcome centers. CRH has agreed to pay VDOT approximately $2 million annually in revenue generated by the ongoing vending program and the new Geico sponsorship.
Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton said the state will continue to work with the private and public sectors to develop "other innovative funding alternatives."