January 25, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Welcome to Virginia?

An editorial in today's News Leader made a good point about the shoddy condition of most of the rest stops along our Interstate highways. Some of the ones along I-81 are under repair right now, forcing motorists to use the porta-potties. I know of at least one or two locations of former rest stops that have been totally abandoned, even though there are no other such stops for nearly an hour in either direction. That is not the way to make visitors to the Old Dominion feel welcome. It would seem that the big tourist promotion campaign of the 1970s and 1980s -- "Virginia is for lovers" -- has been forgotten, which is very ironic given that this is the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The state government should have made preparations for a major influx of tourists, but instead the General Assembly got itself bogged down in squabbling over the budget.

That reminds me of another point I keep making: Most of the rest stops become totally inundated at night by truckers who illegally park along the shoulders in order to catch some sleep. The state could raise a lot of money for highway and rest stop improvements if the state police were to fine those truckers.