Reporting Natalie Nyhus
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many teenagers can’t get in the driver’s seat just yet because of the state government shutdown.
The Department of Motor Vehicles is closed right now and that means you’re out of luck if you are looking to take the driver’s test.
Cole Bacig, 15, loves everything about cars — but not the fact that he can’t drive one yet.
“My mom lets me turn on and off the car sometimes, change it into reverse for her,” said Cole.
Unfortunately, turning the key is where it ends for him.
“I guess until I get my permit, that’s what I’ll be doing,” said Cole.
He was supposed to get his learner’s permit last week, but can’t because of Minnesota’s government shutdown.
In a similar spot is 17-year-old Marcy Adams — she can’t get her driver’s license.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I feel really dependent on my family and friends for rides,” she said.
When lawmakers couldn’t agree on a budget on July 1, all non-essential government departments shut down. That included the DMV.
“I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think the DMV should be shutdown because kids need to get their license. It’s good. It’s revenue,” said Adams.
For Cole and Adams, not being able to drive is an inconvenience, but for others like Johnny Holder, it affects more than his freedom.
“You have to jump through a bunch of hoops in order to get a license reinstated, and by the time I got everything done — it’s over,” he said.
Holder has been trying to get back in the driver’s seat for 5 years since losing his license.
“I’m a freelancer so I have to get around the city a lot,” he said. “I have to turn down jobs right now because I can’t get to them.”
Even though he’s young, Cole understands just how far this shutdown stretches.
“I also understand that this is how the government (shutdown) is impacting me, but it’s also impacting a bunch of other people. So we’re all kinda … playing our role in the way that the government affects us until they reopen,” he said.
No one knows long the government shutdown will last, so in the meantime Cole will keep starting his mom’s car, Adams will hitch rides, and Holder will continue biking.