Dayton defends MnDOT snow response as new leader named - FOX 35 News Orlando

Dayton defends MnDOT snow response as new leader named

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It was another slow day on the roads after a big weekend snowstorm, but a welcome warm up cleared up much of what the Minnesota Department of Transportation could not -- but some members of the public still aren't satisfied.

Complaints were rife on Twitter, but Gov. Mark Dayton defended the response to the snowstorm as he named the new commissioner of the agency, CEO of Jefferson Bus Lines Charlie Zelle.

"I think people are generally and rightfully unhappy that two days after a major event like that when it hasn't been cleared entirely," he said; however, he suggested the result may have been caused by budget cuts made during the Pawlenty administration.

"You cut back on the budget for highway clearing and repairs, then there's going to be consequences," he said. "My understanding is the personnel side of it has been reduced over the last decade … and maintenance."

Yet, the agency itself said money was not the issue with this snowfall. Rather, they say the problem arose with how the snow fell and how it froze.

"It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it can be a real difficult challenge," Kevin Gutknecht said.

Though he couldn't talk in depth about the clearing because he doesn't actually work there yet, Zelle also defended the agency on Wednesday.

"This is a particularly tough snow, I'm saying that as an amateur, but the thing I do know is there's a staff at MnDOT -- they're working 24-7, in the middle of the night," Zelle said. "I know that's something about my bus business. I really appreciate those guys who are out there doing the job."

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