TRENTON, N.J. – The first day of reopening for New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission resulted in chaos all over the state.
“We warned the MVC and the Murphy administration this was coming weeks ago, but they dismissed our suggestions out of hand,” said Assemblyman Kevin Rooney (R-Bergen) who predicted long lines would continue unless the agency considers third-party options to meet the demand.
“All of this frustration and anger could have easily been avoided if they had just listened to the calls we were getting from our constituents,” Rooney said. “This is about getting people back to work and providing for their families. We have to take action now if we are going to fix this problem sooner rather than later.”
Rooney and Assemblywomen Serena DiMaso and Aura Dunn sent a letter to MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton on June 5 raising the alarm.
“We strongly believe action must be taken now to ensure important services are met in the short term without extensive wait times when the agency does open again for business,” the lawmakers wrote at the time.
They offered several creative alternatives to alleviate the demand such as allowing private car sale buyers handle the titling of their vehicles with car dealers for a fee. Also, third-party testing, including driving schools, to relieve the backlog of new drivers waiting for their road test.
“Private businesses, like car dealerships and driving schools, were willing to jump in,” explained DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “They had months to figure this out but now local police have to manage the crowds and the traffic they created by doing nothing.”
DiMaso noted that after calling the MVC Tuesday about its plan to deal with the crowds she was asked to provide constituents with revised expiration dates.
“I’m not sure they even understand why that’s just not a workable solution,” said DiMaso. “Many of the people waiting in these horrible lines need new documents not renew their old ones.”
“The MVC’s reopening is shameful,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “As hundreds stood in line for hours in the heat, with no consideration for the elderly, disabled, or children, many of whom were told to come back tomorrow, speaks volumes about this administration’s lack of respect and compassion for the people of New Jersey.”
“How could any agency that processes 14 million documents a year shut down for a quarter of a year and possibly catch up without third-party help,” continued Dunn (R-Morris). “This is an awful lot like Murphy sending state employees home while the Labor Department gets flooded with over a million unemployment claims. This is a fix that should be a top priority right now. Let’s get this done.”
The three lawmakers introduced their ideas as legislation at the end of June as A4326, A4327, A4306. Both bills are currently in the Assembly Transportation Committee.