Minnesota ends shutdown

Jill Dunn | July 21, 2011

Minnesota’s government will begin to resume services July 21, with state officials anticipating most rest areas will be reopened by Saturday.

On July 20, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law budget and bonding bills the Legislature approved during a special session earlier in the day. However, state officials have not said when the public safety department’s Driver and Vehicle Services will reopen.

On July 14, Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen sent letters to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and state congressional representatives describing how trucking was hurt by the government shutdown. “We urge your agency to fully engage the situation in Minnesota to ensure that the state is honoring its obligations as a safety and enforcement partner,” Hausladen wrote.

Truck stops lacked enough parking to accommodate the overflow of trucks that drivers normally would have parked at more than 60 rest areas.

Truckers also were hurt by the lack of DVS services. Motor carrier could not obtain apportioned plates through the International Registration Plan, preventing companies from registering trucks. That affected those receiving time-sensitive freight, including perishable food, medical supplies or disaster-relief materials.

Truckers could use local registrars to renew CDLs. but only the DVS can issue permanent cards to replace temporary licenses or renew hazardous materials credentials. Third-party vendors could not obtain motor vehicle records or could companies register pro-rated trucks.

On July 1, most state government services closed after the governor and legislative leaders failed reach a budget agreement by June 30, the last day of the state fiscal year.

MnDOT services that remained open were emergency highway maintenance, airport navigation systems, emergency communication networks and permitting for oversize and overweight trucks. About 235 agency employees are staffing or providing other support for these services until full operations are resumed.

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