Reducing wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles from 60 minutes to 15 minutes is the sort of kooky, goofy thing Governor John Hickenlooper would love to run on. It’s popular politics. Everyone has the experience of going to the DMV and waiting… and waiting… and waiting. Saying you reduced the wait time from 60 minutes to 15 minutes is the sort of concrete example that will linger with uninformed voters as they step into the voting booth.
Unfortunately, there are two big problems for Hickenlooper when it comes to political tactic: 1) It’s going to cost him $90 million dollars to accomplish it and 2) El Paso county’s DMV is already averaging a 15-minute wait time this year without spending $90 million dollars.
Hickenlooper’s whole reelection bid relies on two falsehoods: that he is business friendly, and that he has made government more efficient. Despite adding 24,000 pages of new regulations (and counting) while he’s been in office, he can fake the former as long as he can twist stats to show growth in Colorado’s economy. Anyone feeling more prosperous this year?
The latter is proving tougher, which is why Hick is trying to use $90 million to paper over it. Unfortunately for Hick, El Paso County offers a sharp contrast to what true government efficiency looks like. This year alone, as of last Friday, over 116,000 people had visited the DMV in El Paso County. Their average wait-time? Fifteen minutes and 57 seconds. Since Wayne Williams became the Clerk and Recorder for El Paso county he has instituted numerous reforms to the DMV to speed up their process. By creating a compensation structure that rewards employees, bringing in part-time employees for peak hours, and having an office open a half-day on Saturdays, chances are you’re more likely to wait longer at Chipotle than an El Paso County DMV office.
Yet, instead of sending a group to El Paso County to figure out if their methods could be translated across the state, Hickenlooper shows his true, spend-big, Democrat colors by throwing $90 million dollars at the problem. Truth be told, each of us may go to the DMV once every few years. Is it really worth $90 million when other, more cost effective measures have been demonstrated in the state? Couldn’t that $90 million be better spent in other places? Schools? Wildfire fighting capabilities?
Hick’s pride says no. That’s why this project will be known as Hick’s Folly.