Christie Announces Plan to Improve NJ Motor Vehicle Commission

Some changes are on the horizon for the oft-criticized state agency.

Christie MVC
Christie and Martinez at the Randolph MVC.

RANDOLPH – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stood in front of the Randolph Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) location on Wednesday to announce that some changes are on the horizon for the oft-criticized state agency.

“The MVC is probably the agency that most New Jerseyians deal with the most when they deal with state government…My experience has always been you never want to go to MVC,” Christie said.

According to Christie, the hours-long wait times that have plagued the agency–and led to hearings in Trenton on the topic being scheduled–are “unacceptable.” In order to combat issues that have created those wait times, Christie has said that he hopes to work with the legislature to make some changes to take place at the agency.

On Wednesday, the governor announced his initiative which includes the following:

  • Amendment of drivers license/registration expiration from last day of the month to the birthdays of license holders. According to Christie, that change will eliminate some of the bottleneck caused by individuals waiting until the end of the month to renew due to the new variability of expiration dates throughout the month. In order to achieve this, Christie has requested legislation on the topic from the state legislature.
  • A removal the online transaction fee to encourage utilization of services online. That change will be implemented by October 1
  • The NJ MVC will now utilize certain AAA locations throughout the state to make registration more easily accessible and divert some client volume from MVC locations
  • Converting to central issuance process for ids to ensure security and streamline the process
  • Enhance online services so that drivers can remotely take certain tests
  • The launch of two mobile agencies in early 2017. The governor said these will be deployed in the event of outages or for populations that are less mobile. The only thing to be unavailable at these locations will be road testing.
  • Enhancements to the digital drivers license and cameras
  • Reduction in time of license renewal through the implementation of  express process

In order to announce the new initiatives, Christie was joined by NJ MVC Chief Administrator Ray Martinez. According to Christie, Martinez will continue to work to fix the problems plaguing the agency. The governor also said the he hopes the issue will be supported by a bipartisan coalition of legislators.

“There is nothing that will make a legislator more popular than if they… co-sponsor a bill that made the MVC go faster. That is a lay-up,” Christie said.

While the governor touted the bipartisan appeal of the MVC reforms, only Republicans were present to lend support. State Senator Anthony Bucco, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce and Randolph Mayor Roman Hirniak were all present.

While the delays have been caused by computer glitches, the governor’s announcement did not touch on the topic.

UPDATE- Following the publication of this article, CWA NJ State Director Hetty Rosenstien issued the following statement about Governor Christie’s MVC plan:

“After over a decade of smooth sailing for New Jersey drivers, problems at the MVC returned under Governor Christie – when he laid off workers and slashed the budget for the agency. Folks should think twice before rushing to back Christie’s call to make security shortcuts by using a private agency for registration and having ID express lane checks.”

Christie Announces Plan to Improve NJ Motor Vehicle Commission