Some want to put the brakes on rest area closures

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state’s rest areas are where travelers and truckers can pull over and rest, but soon that may be all they can do at some of them.

rest areas 1 Some want to put the brakes on rest area closuresRight now, the facilities at seven rest areas throughout the state are closed more than they are open. Most are open only between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

“These places we rely on,” said Perry Graham, who is from Canada.

He makes deliveries in 49 U.S. states and doesn’t want to see the hours reduced to none.

“Where do you go otherwise? These are directly on your route,” said Graham. “They’re a service for the truck driver. To close them down seems unfair.”rest areas 2 Some want to put the brakes on rest area closures

“Now we’ve replaced our welcome houses with outhouses and we’re gonna replace the outhouses with nothing,” said Meriden Republican Senator Len Suzio. “They’re even talking about even taking the outhouses away right now.”

Sen. Suzio is hoping to put the brakes on the Department of Transportation‘s decision to shut down the buildings completely at rest areas in Danbury, Southington, Willington along I-84, Wallingford and Middletown along I-91, and North Stonington on I-95.

rest areas 3 Some want to put the brakes on rest area closuresThe budget cuts could also force the agency to remove all the port-o-lets as well.

“Are you going to have people doing it in public? Kids seeing it, women it ain’t gonna be nice,” said David Banister of Wethersfield.

Senator Suzio is petitioning to defund a $300,000 mileage tax study which he says nobody wants and have the DOT use that money to keep these facilities open.

“To me our priorities are totally messed up in this state,” said Sen. areas 4 Some want to put the brakes on rest area closures

Rest areas with restaurant plazas will remain open. But closing buildings at the smaller rest areas could save the state half a million dollars. Legislators defunded their operations five years ago but the DOT found other money to keep them open until now.

“If the state is running out of money something’s got to give,” said Ron Bell who was driving through the state from New Hampshire.

“If there’s gonna be no one here, no buildings open, it would be dangerous to stop,” said Banister who is worried about safety.

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