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July 12, 2011 2:00 PM, EDT

Minnesota Rest Areas to Stay Closed During Shutdown

A Minnesota special master has decided to keep the state’s highway rest areas and commercial driver’s license credentialing closed during the state government shutdown, said John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association.

“While we respect the court’s decision, we are disappointed,” Hausladen said.

The trucking group testified last week that both rest areas and CDL credentialing are “critically important to the safety and welfare of Minnesotans,” he said.

A state court has empowered special master Kathleen Batz to decide what government services must remain open during the shutdown, which began July 1 after Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton failed to settle on a state budget before the previous fiscal year’s budget expired. As of Tuesday, the two sides have still not come to an agreement, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

All state-run rest areas are closed, and commercial drivers cannot get or renew CDLs, Hausladen said.

“Trucking companies and drivers will face continued challenges until the government shutdown ends,” he said.