Minnesota shuts rest areas in budget battle

Truckers cannot park at an estimated 67 Minnesota rest areas after state officials shut the facilities down along with most state services at midnight June 30 until a funding crisis is resolved.

John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association, said he was unaware of accommodations made for truckers coping with the situation.”Truck drivers are caught between a federal government eager to do its job with hours-of-service and a state unwilling to provide the resources to do the job,” Hausladen said.

The current shutdown is under a Democrat governor and a Republican majority in both legislative branches. In 2005 an eight-day partial shutdown of Minnesota state services was under a Republican governor and a Democrat majority in the state House and Senate, he noted.

The Minnesota State Patrol is fully operational for roadside enforcement, but weigh stations staffing is likely to be minimal, Hausladen said.

The Minnesota DOT posted that permits for oversize and overweight trucks will be available, but it had halted all highway construction and closed work zones.

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman had no comment when asked if truckers would be afforded any leniency from HOS enforcement in Minnesota during the shutdown.