Saturday, February 18, 2006

Carcieri proposes DMV cutbacks

Governor Don Carcieri is proposing cutting the number of Department of Motor Vehicle branches to ... one.

There are at present eight branch offices: Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Warwick, Warren, West Warwick, Westerly, Wakefield (South Kingstown), and Middletown. The Governor is currently proposing to eliminate all locations except for Pawtucket, which is the main branch.

There are serious arguments for and against this proposal. While 70% of the state lives within 20 miles of Pawtucket, there are certainly corners of the Ocean State where a trip to the DMV would be a headache, especially since unlike most states, Rhode Island offers few DMV services online. I would hate having to drive to Pawtucket everytime I need to go to the registry if I lived in Westerly, Newport, or Little Compton.

Carcieri also proposes updating the DMV's computer system, which was implemented in 1979 - a long overdue move.

The Rhode Island DMV certainly feels like a relic from the late 1970s, with boxes full of paper slips visible everywhere. Whether or not Carcieri can overcome the political resistance to closing DMV branches outside Pawtucket, the idea of bringing the DMV into the modern age is sweet relief to people craving efficient state services.

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