Opening the doors
With no money in the budget, lawmakers from both parties placed DMV funding at the top of their priority lists. Reopening 12 closed offices looks good on campaign literature. Warner, using a $6.4 million settlement from Merrill Lynch, beat them to the punch. He taketh away and he giveth.
Reopening the recently closed offices may provide short term relief enough to take the heat off of some politicians during the November elections but more money will be needed to keep them open beyond next year. There is also a need for new DMV offices in Northern Virginia where demand for tags, drivers licenses and ID cards is enormous. There can be no expansion without more money. Without expansion in our region, the lines will continue to extend out the door and into the cold.
Meanwhile, Warner’s announcement will provide some relief when some of the closed offices reopen later this month. And though there are probably higher priorities deserving of state funding, such as mental health and social services, the DMV is the primary measuring stick used by the voting public in evaluating state government efficiency.
State lawmakers know this… and Warner knew it too.