A national state group has recognized Vermont for an unusual partnership with a private truckstop to make sure truckers and other highway travelers had a place to stop when the state had to close a decaying rest area.
P&H Truckstop, Wells River, VT, is the first business in the country to participate in the "Oasis program," according to truckstop organization NATSO. P&H welcomes non-customers and customers alike to use its payphones, parking, and restrooms. In exchange, the state has placed a sign on the interstate and at the truckstop directing travelers to the facility.
The National Assn. of State Chief Administrators presented its annual outstanding program award to the state and truckstop. "In naming the winner of this year's public/private partnership award, we looked for innovation in how state governments deliver better service to the public. Vermont and P&H Truckstop really made an impact," says NASCA Director Jennifer Viens.
The program has saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars because it did not have to make capital improvements to the decrepit rest areas or spend money on maintenance.
"The Oasis program provides a great example of government and business working together so that everyone wins," said Nelson Baker, President of P&H Truckstop. "The state wins by saving money for other pressing highway needs; my business wins because more traffic visits my truckstop; and the public wins because they are given a safe, clean place to take a rest break."
Vermont's innovation inspired Rep. Jerry Moran, R-KS, to introduce a bill in Congress to create a nationwide Oasis program. H.R. 1872 would require the federal government to work with states and others to create uniform standards and a national logo. Under the proposal, if a state chooses to set up an oasis program, any business able to meet the standards could serve as an oasis facility.