Government of the District of Columbia
Department of Motor Vehicles
Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Oversight Hearing
Testimony of Gabriel Robinson, Director
Department of Motor Vehicles
Before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Charles Allen, Chairman
Council of the District of Columbia
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Good afternoon, Chairman Allen, members of the Committee, and Committee staff. I am Gabriel Robinson, Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and today, I am joined by the Department’s Agency Fiscal Officer Ron Pleasant.
Before I begin my testimony, on behalf of Mayor Muriel Bowser, I would like to thank our customers, Chairperson Allen, this Committee, and the rest of the Council for your support. I also want to congratulate the Mayor and her Administration for their extraordinary leadership, as the District has navigated through the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years and is focused on the Mayor’s Comeback Plan. Additionally, I want to extend a special thank you to all my colleagues at DMV for their extraordinary dedication and hard work.
I am pleased to provide testimony on Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2024 proposed budget, “A Fair Shot”; the District’s 28th consecutive balanced budget. With this budget, Mayor Bowser is continuing to strategically invest in District residents with the priorities of increasing access to affordable housing; creating a safer, stronger DC; expanding the reach of health and human services; accelerating achievements in education; ensuring access to job and economic opportunities; investing in transportation and the environment; and improving infrastructure and community spaces.
The Mayor’s FY24 proposed budget supports DMV’s mission to promote the safe operation of motor vehicles and public safety while providing outstanding customer service. During FY22, DMV provided service to more than 575,000 licensed drivers and identification cardholders and more than 290,000 registered vehicle owners at four service centers. Additionally, we provided adjudication services, including conducting more than 210,000 in-person, mail, and virtual hearings. DMV collected ticket payments for more than 2.7 million tickets issued. We also conducted more than 150,000 annual vehicle inspections, including 8,300 inspections completed using our self-service on-board diagnostic (OBD) emissions kiosk. DMV interacts with District residents and non-residents, with an average of 3,200 daily customer contacts, which is more than almost any other District government agency.
As the District pivoted through various stages of the pandemic, DMV continued to serve District residents through our online services, an enhanced DMV mobile app, and in-person appointments at our service centers. Since August 2022, DMV has been recommending that employees and customers wear facial coverings while requiring them to do so for the in-vehicle portion of the road test. Additionally, our Inspection Station has remained fully operational since June 2020 and continues to service residents on a first-come, first-serve basis along with the OBD kiosk that is available to residents 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Let me now briefly describe DMV’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. DMV’s FY24 proposed budget is $69,034,761, which represents a 24.8% increase from the FY23 approved budget of $55,318,875. The proposed budget is composed of $59,561,351 in Local funds and $9,473,410 in Special Purpose Revenue funds.
Now, I would like to take a few moments to highlight some of the agency’s FY23 accomplishments:
- District residents who have not been issued a ticket can now enroll in the agency’s Ticket Alert Service (TAS), which enables them to select how they want to be notified about ticket-related activity. Examples include when a ticket has been issued to a registered vehicle, the status of a ticket that has been contested, and a reminder that a ticket is about to double and action needs to be taken. A single driver can register up to four vehicles. Prior to this change, District residents could only enroll in TAS after they had received a ticket. Non-residents are still required to have been issued at least one ticket within the past 18 months to be eligible to enroll in TAS.
- Enhanced the service experience for DMV customers with hearing impairments via the purchase and implementation of upgraded Ubiduo’s, which are devices that convert typed text to audio speech making face-to-face communication between agency staff and customers faster and easier.
- Implementation of the mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program. Residents with a DC driver license who have been convicted or found administratively liable for an alcohol or drug-related driving offense on or after December 19, 2022, are now required to enroll in DMV’s IID Program.
The FY24 budget proposed by the Mayor benefits District residents by investing in the following programs:
- The implementation of State-to-State Verification. This system electronically checks with participating jurisdictions to determine if a customer has an active driver license or identification card in another state. This will help to reduce the number of customers who have active credentials in different jurisdictions by ensuring one person has one credential.
- Funding to support the DMV’s contractual and operational resource needs associated with the expansion of the Automated Ticket Enforcement (ATE) Program.
- Funding to support enhancements to the automatic voter registration (AVR) system such that DMV customers may only opt out from AVR through a mailer sent to qualified elector’s home by the Board of Elections; thus adding more access to the ballot box.
- The proposed FY24 Budget also transfers $1,836,589 and 10.2 FTEs from the Office of the Chief Technology Officer to support the decentralization of personal service costs related to maintaining the District’s mainframe system which DMV uses. It should be noted that the funding and FTEs for this initiative are not new to the DC Government, but a simple transfer from OCTO to DMV.
In closing, the resources allocated to DMV will play a critical role in helping the agency to continue to provide outstanding service to District residents and all DMV customers. The Council and this Committee are critical allies in this effort, and we appreciate your work to ensure we operate efficiently and effectively. We look forward to working together to achieve our shared goals and give all residents a fair shot as outlined by the Mayor.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. We look forward to answering your questions.