"Across the country, rest areas [...] have been losing a long-fought battle to commercial alternatives, super-sized stops with eight blends of caffeine, free wifi, burgers, and gas. Traditional rest areas cost money to staff and maintain, and aside from the odd vending machine, don't generate any direct revenue; Virginia expects to save $9 million (much of which has gone to minority- and female-owned maintenance contractors) by not maintaining these buildings."
Closures are spreading across the country:
"Last year, Louisiana closed 24 of its 34 stops, and Vermont has already shuttered four this year. In April, Wisconsin stopped staffing its welcome centers."
The article also highlights how rest stops have created and reflected a sense of place wherever they are built, from teepees in Oklahoma to oil rigs in Texas.