State plans to have private firm rebuild, run I-95 travel plazas

January 24, 2012

The two travel plazas on Interstate 95 north of Baltimore will be rebuilt and operated by a private company that will share revenue with the state under a plan approved Monday by the Maryland Transportation Authority’s board.

The deal to have Areas USA spend $56 million to redesign and rebuild the 48-year-old Maryland House and 36-year-old Chesapeake House rest stops will move to the state Board of Public Works and the General Assembly for review and approval.

The state would retain ownership and oversight of the two plazas, but Areas USA would operate and maintain them through 2047. The state estimates that it would receive more than $400 million in revenue during the life of the contract.

This deal would be the second public-private partnership entered into by the state since the 2009 agreement between the Maryland Port Administration and Ports America to run the Seagirt Marine Terminal near Baltimore.

State officials say the travel plaza reconstruction will create 400 jobs and involve 10 Maryland-based firms.

The timetable calls for Areas USA to keep one travel plaza open during construction. Maryland House will be rebuilt on its original footprint, but the new Chesapeake House will be constructed on a site adjacent to the existing building.

Areas USA is owned by Areas S.A., headquartered in Barcelona. It has signed major concessions contracts with about 10 U.S. airports and the Florida Turnpike’s authority. It also operates food and retail shops in more than 60 airports worldwide.

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