Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration requested $208 million Friday to improve customer service and long lines at California’s delay-plagued Department of Motor Vehicle offices.
The money would allow for the hiring of hundreds of new employees, according to a letter sent to lawmakers from Newsom’s finance director, Keely Bosler. The DMV would also use the money to update its systems to allow for credit card use and to improve its website to allow for more online customer service, reducing the need for people to go into physical offices.
The “DMV has increasingly struggled to meet the public’s needs in field offices, on its website, through the use of self-service terminals (kiosks), and via phone calls,” Bosler wrote to lawmakers who control the budget committees.
Bosler’s letter follows a Department of Finance audit that found the DMV failed to properly prepare for the rollout of new federal license requirements known as Real ID. People will be required to present a Real ID or a passport to fly starting late next year. As more people begin changing over to the new ID, some customers have faced hours-long wait times.
Newsom has requested $46 million be appropriated in the next three months and the remaining $162 to be included in the next state budget, starting July 1. He appointed a “strike team” to analyze the DMV’s issues and is publicly searching for a new DMV director.
The money would also give DMV workers more training and pay for improvements to the IT system.
Newsom’s requests would add hundreds of new temporary workers to handle Real ID requests and the uptick in customers during the summer. Included in the request is $4.5 million to hire 300 new temporary workers in May for the summer rush. The budget request for next year would include 178 new workers.
Newsom and lawmakers must agree on a budget by July 1.