Shutdown Threat Seizes Up DMV Lines

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The impact of a possible government shutdown is already fueling traffic at Twin Cities Department of Motor Vehicles locations.

Early Tuesday morning, drivers began lining up at the Arden Hills Drivers License Exam center.

“We’re the fourth in line,” said Niki Miller as she waited with her mother. “We got up at 4:30 to come here at 5:30.”

They came the day before but were turned away because their insurance card had expired.

Workers at the DMV office said they’ve been extremely busy.

State Public Department spokesman Doug Neville says, “Under the governor’s recommendations, if there is a shutdown — and the court will ultimately decide — then Driver and Vehicle Services will close.”

That has motivated many parents to get their teenagers licensed and on the road before Friday’s possible shutdown.

“We came on Friday and the lines were out the door,” said Betsy Spencer, who was there with her 15-year-old son Ben. He’s trying to get a permit, and has other friends trying to squeeze in to the DMV before Friday.

“They want what I want. They don’t want to wait a long time,” said Ben.

Some are afraid a shutdown will close the DMV for a long time and they’ll miss out on some summer cruising. But for Miller and her mother, it’s a different story. If Miller doesn’t get her license then her mother will have to drive her from their home in Forest Lake to her work in Stillwater.

“I’m not leaving here without my license. That’s not going to happen,” said Miller with a big smile. This will be her second time being tested. Eight months ago, she said she “failed everything.”

Things didn’t get off to a good start — a fender bender on the course interrupted examinations for brief period.

Some services can be done at deputy registrars’ license agencies. People can renew their tabs and licenses and get new plates. But if a shutdown does happen then those renewed licenses and plates won’t be mailed out until workers return.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

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