California's Department of Motor Vehicles is requesting more money for a budget boost and warning lawmakers that if they aren't granted the funds, citizens could remain waiting in long lines, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Last week, the DMV requested $40.4 million in hopes of making their offices better able to handle the onslaught of people trying get their Real ID ahead of a Oct. 2020 deadline.
Lawmakers have a month to consider the DMV's budget. The DMV warns that if they don't get the money they're asking for, people could see a return of "unacceptable field office wait times."
The DMV also expressed concern that very few people have come in for their Real ID cards. The new 'Real ID' cards will be mandatory for anyone who wishes to fly or enter other federal facilities starting next year. The DMV is catching up with a 2005 law that mandated the new identification regulations.
“There is still work to be done as we continue to prepare for the remaining Californians who wish to obtain a REAL ID card,” Armando Botello, a DMV spokesman said in a statement.
In the last year, California has only issued around 2.5 million Real ID cards with the department estimating that they still need to issue another 22.5 million. The agency is worried that it won't have enough workers to support the traffic that's expected as the deadline approaches.
In 2018, California lawmakers gave the DMV an additional $63.6 million to hire 780 more workers to reduce customer delays, but even that wasn't enough. The department ended up having to hire another 119 additional "emergency" hires, even had to bring 109 state workers out of retirement.
The DMV has the same amount of employees that they do now as they did in 2012 according to an archived budget.
In order to keep the 780 additional employees on their payroll and hire the additional 120 retired state workers at part-time, the DMV still needs ANOTHER $40.4 million.
Customers across the Golden State have been complaining about excessive wait times for months now, with some waiting in lines of up to seven hours long. The department's last report to lawmakers sent on Jan. 4, showed a dramatic reduction for customers waiting for services.
“The DMV has made considerable progress reducing wait times by 86 minutes in the last five months,” Botello said.
The California Department of Finance wrote that it would prefer to evaluate the DMV's funding request with more information about its processes. Among some of the inquires underway, an audit of the DMV is being conducted by the Finance Department.
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