Minnesota gov, lawmakers still at budget impasse

| 7/5/2011

It’s been five days since the state of Minnesota went into shutdown mode, closing critical rest areas and other state-funded services that truck drivers depend on to do their jobs.

Talks were scheduled for late Tuesday, July 5, between Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and key Republican legislative leaders about reaching a budget agreement after approximately 23,000 state workers were furloughed on July 1.

The shutdown has already affected truck drivers traveling through the state after all but three safety rest areas in Minnesota were closed. Some were ordered out of their spaces and forced to head on down the road.

Most state-operated websites are down, including those vital to truckers, such as the Department of Public Safety and Driver Services. The Department of Transportation, which halted all ongoing construction projects as of midnight, still has a functioning website, but presents a notice that most state government services will be closed to the public. The governor’s website hasn’t been updated since June 30.

Kevin Gutknecht of MnDOT confirmed that the permitting offices would remain open for drivers seeking overweight permits during the shutdown.

If you call a scale house, you get a phone message that the scales are closed due to the state government shutdown.

On one of the busiest weekends of the year, campgrounds and state parks in Minnesota were also closed.

Christina Joyce, MnDOT public affairs supervisor, told Land Line recently, that the agency plans to reopen the rest areas “as soon as possible after the governor and legislature have reached a state budget agreement.”