Minn. Shutdown Closes State Rest Areas



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 Updated:
7/1/2011 1:00:00 PM

State Trucking Assn. President Hausladen Cites Concerns

The Minnesota state government shut down Friday morning, closing state highway rest areas and halting construction projects, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

State lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton (D) failed to reach an agreement on the state’s budget before the midnight deadline and will not reopen until the legislature and governor reach an accord, the paper said.

Most state rest areas began closing Thursday in preparation for the shutdown, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association, said the shutdown is not affecting the movement of freight, but cited concern about truckers finding a place to rest.

“When our drivers get to the end of their 14-hour duty cycle and if they have to use a rest area, they’ve got big problems, because there are just simply not enough private rest areas with adequate facilities for drivers to spend their 10-hour breaks,� he said.

Not only are the restrooms shuttered but the parking areas have been barricaded, Hausladen said.

The Minnesota State Patrol is working, so, there will be roadside enforcement, but weigh stations are not staffed so trucks will not be weighed, he added.

He said that if the shutdown continues into next week, the biggest problem for truckers will be the lack of back-office and electronic support systems.



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Staff Reporter Michele Fuetsch contributed to this story.


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