MVD waits could be profitable By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services February 16, 2006

Angry and tired of standing in line at the MVD office? State lawmakers are considering a way to at least make the wait less painful: Money.

Proposed legislation would require the agency to give customers a $5 inconvenience fee if they arent waited on within 30 minutes. And if theyre still waiting after an hour, they get another five spot.

The Motor Vehicle Division has changed its procedures to allow many transactions to be conducted by phone or Internet.

For example, motorists can order a duplicate license or renew their registrations online.

But figures prepared by legislative staffers show that the average MVD waiting time has increased from 14 minutes in 2003 to about 33 minutes currently.

Over that same period the report says the number of MVD clerks declined from 866 to 680.

Rep. Cheryl Chase, R-Kearny, said Wednesday that HB2777 stems from constituents complaints. People were just getting a little frustrated, she said.

Kevin Biesty, lobbyist for the agency, acknowledged the increase in time motorists spend cooling their heels. He said MVD is trying to resolve it.

He noted that Gov. Janet Napolitano has requested funding for an additional 25 staffers.

Biesty said that increase, coupled with some reorganization, should help reduce wait times to less than 30 minutes.

Rep. Russell Pearce, RMesa, who leads one of the House Appropriations committees, said hes not sure that penalties are the right approach.

Pearce knows something about MVD: He used to run it.

And in that position he opposed a similar measure defeated in 1996.

Contact Howard Fischer by telephone at () -.

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