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DMV wait times: latest proof that more spending solves nothing


Last updated 8/31/2018 at 2:07pm

Anyone who’s visited a Department of Motor Vehicles field office lately has likely encountered an inconvenient truth: DMV wait times aren’t just longer than ever, they are out of control. Some of my constituents who made appointments for basic services, like renewing a driver’s license, told me they waited for hours only to be told at the end of the day to go back home and try again tomorrow.

Way back in 2005, the federal government passed the REAL ID Act. Under the Act, all 50 states were mandated to complete an upgrade of their driver’s license vetting process by 2020 in order to improve homeland security. Despite having 15 years to get this accomplished, we’re just now seeing the REAL ID requirements being implemented which has contributed to the unprecedented delays at the DMV.

The legislature appropriated more than a hundred million extra dollars already to the DMV’s budget to address delays and added 550 more employees to the payroll. But the DMV has failed to increase its daily hours of operation or be open on Saturdays, except in a handful of field offices.

So we’ve spent more money and added more employees, but DMV wait times have gone through the roof.

I believe my constituents deserve better, and I believe they deserve to know where their money has gone.

Sadly, a majority of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee doesn’t agree. Recently they rejected a proposal by Assembly Members Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), Phillip Chen (R-Brea), and Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) to conduct a thorough audit to explore how the DMV has so spectacularly failed to deliver prompt and reasonable service to the public. The Governor and the Director of the DMV are asking for more money for the agency -- $26 million to be exact – with no specific plan other than to hire additional workers.

Despite the outcome of the hearing, I am not giving up on my commitment to make government work for you. I’m supporting my colleague Senator Bates’ (R-Laguna Nigel) emergency legislation to grant an additional 90 days to license renewals to offer some amount of relief to my constituents who are trying to do the right thing but can’t afford to take an entire day or more off work to be at the DMV.

Do you think the legislature should simply write the DMV a check for another $26 million or should we seek accountability for the money we’ve already given them? I welcome your emails at


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