DPS May Lose Driver License Offices?

That’s what one might think after reading recommendations from the Texas Sunset Commission.

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They note several problems with performance and record-keeping by the DPS in an April Sunset Advisory report. One recommendation they made is that the task of licensing drivers be transferred to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. They stop short of saying that needs to happen soon though, saying that transferring such a large, complex program requires a lot of planning by the agencies themselves.

In response to the criticisms of the Sunset Commission, the DPS has begun working on streamlining their DL system. In addition to the new online renewal for some people, the DPS wants to close down some 87 DL offices, many of them in rural areas. That just happens to include the Lampasas office, as well as Hamilton, Goldthwaite and Llano.

Some state legislators, as well as numbers of county officials and their organizations have objected to the move. One scathing letter came from the County Judges and Commissioner’s Association and said,  

 “DPS estimates that approximately $700,000 would be saved in the state budget by these closures.   Amazingly, neither the DPS nor the Sunset Commission staff has attempted to calculate the increased cost to Texas citizens from the closure of these offices. If the 2,500 annual customers from the each of the 78 sole- county offices travel 100 miles roundtrip to obtain this service, at a cost of $0.50 per mile, they will incur $3,900,000 in additional transportation costs for this service. This does not include the cost of lost productivity and wages for the travel time, highway maintenance costs, and safety concerns.

 If driver license services were being operated at a loss, it might be possible to justify some of these closures. However, in fiscal year 2017, DPS collected almost $405 million in various driver license fees and expended only $149 million on its license and identification services. In other words, Texas citizens are already being charged over $250 million dollars per year above the cost of the present service.” 

One wonders what the outcome of all this will be?