A change in the way the Arizona Department of Transportation's 14 rest areas are managed could mean new amenities for travelers in the future.
The new features could include Wi-Fi access, dog-walking areas, charging stations for electric vehicles and ATM machines.
The rest areas will now be managed under one contract under the agency's first active public-private partnership. The contract takes effect Tuesday.
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.
The agreement runs for five years. 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.
The current rest area caretakers will be retained as part of this public-private partnership. The contract also calls for on-site staff at the rest areas for 16 hours a day.
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.
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