Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Millions of travelers may have no idea Dulles International Airport (KIAD) is in Virginia

Quick: Dulles International Airport (KIAD) is located in what state? 

Of course we know the answer to that, but apparently many of the millions of folks who fly through Dulles each year don’t. And that’s why on a snowy Tuesday morning, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was at the airport unveiling a new version of the “Welcome to Virginia” sign.

McAuliffe said the idea came to him after he made a trip to Asia last year. When he asked officials he met in Japan, China and South Korea if they’d ever been to the Commonwealth, they said no. But did they fly into Dulles Airport? he asked. Of course, they said. But much to the governor’s chagrin, none of them realized that Dulles is in Virginia, not Washington, D.C.  (Perhaps they were fooled by the “Washington Dulles” moniker?)

McAuliffe was more than miffed. Once he returned home, he investigated the matter and realized there is no signage at Dulles (or Reagan National) airports that indicates you’re on Virginia soil. So he dialed up Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane and told him he had 60 days to remedy that.

And so now with the installation of the new sign at Dulles, McAuliffe said: “Everyone will now know when they come to Dulles that it is Virginia’s Dulles Airport.”

McAuliffe said the Virginia Department of Transportation will gradually roll out a series of newly designed “Welcome to Virginia” signs at all 105 interstate gateways in the state. The previous design, which featured a large cardinal perched on a flowering dogwood, was unveiled in 2006. With many of those signs reaching the end of their usable lives due to lack of night visibility, it was time for an update, the governor said. The new welcome signs are expected to be in place by the July 4 holiday.

The sign replacement will cost about $350,000 and is being paid for by VDOT.

Cocktail party tidbit:  The “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan celebrated its 45th anniversary last year. In 2009, it was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009. It also was  recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 advertising campaigns of all time.

Story and photos:   http://www.washingtonpost.com

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