Lawmakers resist governor's plan to close 6 DMV offices

·2 min read

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A plan by the governor of Alaska to close six Department of Motor Vehicles offices has been met with resistance from the state Legislature.

A plan by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration to close the DMV offices in Eagle River, Tok, Homer, Haines, Delta Junction and Valdez would save about $500,000 per year in operation costs, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.

The proposal, unveiled in December, would encourage a company to start a public-private partnership with the state, said Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka to lawmakers in a pair of meetings this week.

Residents would have to use online services or be required to pay any fee charged by that private in-person company, which would not be able to perform all the responsibilities a regular DMV office would.

“For example, I have a (commercial driver’s license) and I can’t renew that online, nor can I renew it through one of the private companies,” Republican state Sen. Robert Myers said.

State lawmakers across party lines have pushed back against the governor's proposed measure.

Democratic state Rep. Zack Fields has introduced legislation that would disallow the DMV from closing any office that had been open on Jan. 1 in a community with at least 850 residents.

Meanwhile, Republican state Rep. Sarah Vance introduced legislation with bipartisan support that would repeal the requirement for seniors and others to visit offices in person to renew driver’s licenses. Vance wrote in the proposed bill that the legislation could dramatically stimulate business at DMVs, reduce the burden on state residents and reduce wait times.

Currently, Alaska residents aged 68 and older must renew their driver’s licenses in person. Residents who are scheduled to receive their driver’s license for the first time, or those obtaining a REAL ID license, must also visit an office in person.

The Associated Press