Walz visits Austin

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, third from left, speaks to Geoff Baker, president of McFarland Truck Lines and several of his employees outside of McFarland in Austin. — Kevin Coss/kevin.coss@austindailyherald.com

Southern Minnesota Republicans voting in the primary election Tuesday chose Allen Quist over Mike Parry to advance to the general election. But with the democratic nomination sewn up, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz visited an Austin trucking company that afternoon.

Walz visited award-winning McFarland Truck Lines to discuss the effects of a two-year transportation bill he helped pass through Congress. The bill was signed into law in early July to make roads and bridges safer. McFarland — which has been in business for more than 70 years and now has a fleet of 108 trucks — was recently named the safest trucking company in Minnesota and given the Grand Trophy for Fleet Safety, the Minnesota Trucking Association’s highest safety honor.

“It’s great to get Congressman Walz out to see firsthand what the industry is doing,” said John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association, who joined Walz for the visit. “We can’t understate how important it was to get this highway bill. It keeps our road functioning and in repair.”

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The bill also improves highway safety measures, Hausladen added.

“By rebuilding our roads and bridges, we’re giving local businesses the tools they need to compete, while at the same time putting southern Minnesotans back to work helping to build a more prosperous future for our children,” Walz said in a statement.

Negotiations for the bill were at a standstill in mid June. Walz introduced legislation that directed the Transportation Conference Committee to resolve its internal disputes and put forth a bipartisan transportation bill. The motion passed the U.S. House on a vote of 386-34.