During December, we hear from state agencies who present their budget proposals and needs for the coming year. In this case, for 2024, the Washington State Department of Transportation says a lot of money is needed to fix up rest areas.

$500 million needed for upgrades

According to WSDOT, the 47 rest areas along state and Interstate highways are in bad shape.

WSDOT officials said recently they are aware of the needs of travelers, whether it's a single mom with kids who needs to pull over and rest, or a student traveler who needs to utilize the restroom and stretch their legs, a myriad of people rely on these stops.

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Some truckers use them as sleeping stops along their journeys.WSDOT spokesperson Christina Werner said, according to MyNorthwest.com:

 “It’s not just replacing a faucet, for example, or mowing, these aren’t just cosmetic improvements that we’re talking about at our rest areas. We have many locations and they’re not meeting the modern needs of our guest area users today.”

Earlier this year, in August, WSDOT released a report that led to this budget request. These facilities do not fall under the umbrella of the gas tax, so WSDOT is having to request additional funding.

One of the issues facing WSDOT in some areas on the West side includes homeless camps and related RV parking at rest areas, which has further stressed the wear and tear on the rest stops.

Some state legislators have already indicated because of other pressing budget needs, they might pursue public-private collaborations to fix these issues.

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