Restaurants at Rest Stops? Mich. Puts Out Feeler

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan is interested in possibly commercializing a couple of rest areas along a major highway in northern Michigan.

The state Department of Transportation on Thursday put feelers out to companies looking to form public-private partnerships involving rest stops, freeway lighting and bridge construction.

Two rest areas proposed for possible deals are near Higgins and Houghton lakes along U.S. 127 south of Grayling, a popular route for tourists. The state wants to know if businesses are interested in improving the rest stops.

Ideas could include opening restaurants and buying advertising space. If successful, the state may look to make money at rest stops along U.S. 131 in west Michigan and U.S. 23 in the southeastern part of the state.

One privatization deal could involve all 18,400 lights on the state's freeways.