[vendtalk] Connecticut Saves Rest Stops and Associated Vending from Closure

Vandervoort's vandervoorts at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jun 15 02:25:57 UTC 2011

Vending Times

Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 7, July 2011, Posted On: 6/14/2011 


Connecticut Vending Association Victory Spares Rest Area Vending Machines


Emily Jed

Emily at vendingtimes.net  


HARTFORD, CT -- Vending operators in Connecticut scored a victory last week
when Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state Legislature scrapped a law that would
have closed noncommercial rest stops on three interstate highways. The seven
stops, which were opened in the 1960s and '70s, provide refreshments through
vending machines, bathrooms and travel information, but do not have gas
stations or restaurants. 



PHOTO: Rest stop saviors Dolores Malloy and Eric Mueller pose for a photo at
highway rest area in Willington, CT, that was scheduled to close July 1.
Vending machines provide snacks and beverages there. 



The state Department of Transportation estimated that closing the rest areas
would save $1.3 million a year in staffing and maintenance, and an
additional $14 million in capital improvements. The plan was included in the
two-year $40.1 billion budget the governor signed into law in early May to
close a budget deficit in excess of $3 billion.


Two rest areas off Interstate 84 in Willington were scheduled to close on
July 1; five others on Interstates 91 and 95 would have been shuttered next


Connecticut Vending Association legislative director Eric Mueller noted that
the budget was voted on and passed, making the closure of the rest stops
law. He credited CVA member Bill Miller of Maple Hill Farms (Bloomfield, CT)
for bringing the matter to the association's attention and spurring its
legislative efforts, since the areas are big stops for operators. The loss
of these locations, which also aid Connecticut's Board of Education and
Services for the Blind, could have resulted in a loss of jobs for the
state's vending industry.


Mueller hailed the trade group's lobbyist, Dolores Malloy (no relation to
the governor) of Malloy & Associates, for her role in persuading lawmakers
to reverse the measure after just two days of speaking before legislators.
The truckers association and the governor's own commissioner of tourism also
spoke out against the law, emphasizing that rest is not a luxury on the
highway and that fatigued drivers are a hazard to everyone else on the road.


Gov. Malloy and Dolores Malloy discussed the matter, Mueller reported, and
the recommendations to keep the stops open came from a DOT subcommittee.
"Considering that Malloy & Associates does not represent truckers or tourism
leads us to believe that the noise we made mattered," he said.


The rest stops that were due to close in July now have temporary portable
toilets in place, suggesting swift action is underway to reverse the law.


Mueller credited Transportation Committee Chairman Tony Guerrera for being
the greatest influence behind the last- minute reversal. "Things like this
really don't happen, and the chairman's work was truly remarkable," said the
CVA legislative director. "This is a very big deal." He asked members to
email their words of gratitude to Guerrera.


Rest stop's remaining open is a second political success for Connecticut's
operators this year. On Feb. 16, Malloy unveiled a two-year budget plan that
maintained the industry's existing tax exemption.


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