2013 US Trucking News – Iowa to Permanently Close Some Rest Areas
According to the Des Moines register, the Iowa state officials are planning to shut down some of the state’s rest areas to cut costs. They are also telling motorists to use truck stops, gas stations, as well as fast food restaurants for their travel needs instead.
Paul Trombino, who is the director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, has said that his agency has already decided that it won’t replace two rest areas along Interstate Highway 80 in Dallas County when they are demolished for an interchange project in early 2015. The Des Moines Register, which is known as the official daily newspaper of Des Moines, Iowa, has also reported that the fate of most of Iowa’s 38 other full-service rest areas is yet to be decided. Trombino also says that there is no question that more rest areas in the state will close over the next several years.
There are over 40 rest areas in Iowa. These rest areas cost around $6.1 million a year to operate. Money that would’ve gone to the rest areas would then be funneled into the State’s Road Use Tax Fund.
In 2006, members of the Transportation Commission voted 6-0 in favor of retaining all of the state’s rest areas. Officers have not reported on how many rest areas are on the chopping block.
A truck stop is also known in the United Kingdom as a transport café, and as a travel chain in the United States. It is a commercial facility that provides refueling, rest, and often ready-made food and other services to motorists and truck drivers. These truck stops are usually found near a busy road. Smaller truck stops usually consist of a parking area, and a fuelling station. Sometimes, they also include a diner restaurant. Meanwhile, bigger truck stops might have convenience stores of different sizes, showers, and even small video arcades and a TV or movie theater (which is usually just a projector with an attached DVD player). Other large truck stops may also have several independent businesses that operate under one roof, which caters to a wide variety of travelers’ needs. Truck stops may also contain several large fast-food chains, operating a small food court. Large truck stops also tend to have full-maintenance facilities for heavy trucks, as well as vehicle wash services that can handle anything from passenger vehicles to large trucks. Some truck stops even operate motels or are adjacent to one. Nowadays, a lot of truck stops offer separate fueling areas, which often come with dedicated entrances for standard-sized passenger vehicles. The truck refueling area almost always offers dual pumps, so large trucks can fill both tanks in one sitting.
The largest truck stop in the world can be found in Iowa. It is known as Iowa 80. Iowa 80 is located along Interstate 80 off exit 248 in Walcott, Iowa. It is set on a 220-acre plot of land – 75 acres of which are currently developed. This site welcomes around 5,000 visitors every day. It also features a 67,000 sq ft main building, a parking area for 800 trucks, and 15 fuel pumps.
Iowa 80 also has a large truck parking lot, with truck scales, and fueling stations, which is customary for any kind of truck stops. There are 15 fuel truck stop stations. These stations have nozzles on each side, so tanks on both sides of the truck can be simultaneously filled. Iowa 80 also has a service center where vehicle diagnostics, minor repairs, oil changes, and tire rotations can be conducted. There is also a small convenience store located on the fuel island. Iowa 80 also has a truck washing facility, where even the truck’s engine can be washed.
Iowa 80 always uses LED light bulbs in all of their electronic message center signs. These bulbs use 30% less energy. They also use Kalwall in the Super Truck Showroom for natural light to reduce the amount of artificial lights that are needed during the daytime. The Kalwall that Iowa 80 chooses has an insulation value that is equal to a standard wall so there is no heat or cooling loss.
Gift Store skylight uses the same insulating Kalwall to let in the light, but not the heat. Skylights in the ceiling allow for more natural light and reduce reliance on artificial lighting. Using all types of fluorescent lighting reduces energy consumption. All of the windows are also lowered to block heat from the sun and reduce the costs of cooling. All heat and air conditioning is controlled to 72 degrees. This also includes thermostats and zones of the building to automatically adjust for windy days, and heat from the sun. Around the course of the year, this significantly reduces energy consumption since it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
They also have extra large vestibules with automatic doors that open up to 1.5 feet. All lights also have timers or photocells that are found in the gift shop, convenience store, and the restaurant. These exterior lights on photocells cut the usage of energy.
Road use tax law is also governed by state laws, which vary by state. These funds are primarily used for construction as well as highway maintenance. Road taxes can also be used for a number of purposes, such as engineering and right-of-way acquisition that is a part of street construction. This includes street signage, the purchase of vehicles as well as its street maintenance, and storm sewers that drain water from the street. This also includes street lighting, the cost of buildings, administrative salaries and office expenses that apply to street maintenance or supervision.
The following paragraph is an example of a state law that deals with road taxes:
All motor vehicle registration fees and all licenses and excise taxes on motor vehicle fuel, except the cost of administration, shall be used excessively for the construction, maintenance, and supervision of public highways. These highways are exclusively within the state or for the payment of bonds that are issued or to be issued for the construction of these public highways and the payment of interest on such bonds.