Along with investing significantly in a rainy day fund, paying down debt and including additional funding for schools, higher education, services for veterans, child care and early education, a budget passed on Monday by the state Legislature includes an initial $2.6 million allocation for a new Santa Maria DMV office.
“I’m extremely pleased to see this funding included in the budget,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who has advocated for funding for the new Santa Maria DMV. “The current DMV office is completely inadequate to serve a community the size of Santa Maria. It’s very important that our budget choices not only be fiscally prudent but serve the needs of our communities, and this funding is a critical first step toward doing that in Santa Maria.”
In January, Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan included a proposal for $15.5 million, in installments over four years, for a new Santa Maria DMV office, beginning with $2.6 million in 2015-16.
Last year, Jackson wrote a letter to the governor urging funding for the new office. In the letter, she cited long lines, a community that has tripled in size since the office was built in 1969, three-hour wait times and the added demands of a new law providing driver’s licenses to the undocumented as the reason why a new office is needed.
The funding comes after lengthy efforts by local leaders and the involvement of Jackson to bring a much-needed new DMV office to the community to process driver’s license applications and provide other services.
Once the budget is signed by the governor, funding could be allocated as early as this fall.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.
— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.