TX Senate considering adding license renewal fee

April 26, 2011 4:34:42 PM PDT
The state senate is considering a bill that would raise the driver's license fee. The extra money would be used to pay for more workers at DPS offices, which are known for long lines.

We talked to some very frustrated Houstonians waiting in long lines at a DPS location, and they welcome more employees to speed up lines, but wonder why it has to come down to a new fee on taxpayers.

The DPS office in west Houston is packed, and more than a hundred people are waiting mostly to renew a license.

"First you have to wait in line for maybe 30 minutes, then you get a number, then you have to wait about an hour and a half to two hours," said Jose Garza, who was trying renew his license.

"I've been here for an hour and they have only called four people," Natasha Rawana said.

The solution? An added $8 fee to renew your license -- at least that's what Republican State Senator Tommy Williams of The Woodlands is proposing.

Senator Williams says it's just one facet of Senate Bill 9, an omnibus homeland security bill. It would raise the fee to renew your license to $32 from $24.

Williams says once up and running, the fees would generate more than $72 million annually, allowing for the creation of three mega-license centers in Houston, where 162 employees would be added and improve wait times.

"Thirty minutes for renewal, for duplicate driver's license, 45 minutes to renew ID applications," Williams said.

Everyone testing their patience at this DPS office is all for shorter wait times and say more employees are needed.

"Having to wait for so long and seeing a lot of empty booths, when I know if there were people at them I could be out of here a lot faster," Chris Oler said.

But some also question why it amounts to higher government fees.

"I think it's already a lot of money to renew your license," Paige Carrow said.

And others say the slow moving lines are just the epitome of bureaucracy.

"Government doesn't tend to run business very efficiently, in general. I don't see that the DMV would be any different," Oler said.

The extra $8 fee would also upgrade technology at the mega-centers allowing for warrants checks on the spot.

Dallas, Austin and San Antonio would also get one mega-center each.

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