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No DMV Audit. Lawmakers Won't Be Looking Into Those Wait Times After All

With wait times at DMV offices spiraling out of control, the agency recently added Saturday hours to 60 branches statewide. (Courtesy California DMV)
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An audit that would have investigated how the California DMV is spending money to alleviate out-of-control wait times won't be happening. Instead, the agency will be given more money to fix the infamous problem.

State lawmakers voted to grant the DMV $17 million in additional funds, which department officials say they'll use to hire 230 new employees, the Sacramento Bee reports. In a budget hearing Tuesday, DMV director Jean Shiomoto said the audit would be a "strain" on the agency's resources, orginally requesting $26 million for efforts to fix wait times.

The audit request passed the state Assembly, but fell one vote short in the Senate after three Democrats declined to vote. They argued the audit was unnecessary and would take too long when the priority should be fixing the problem now.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a Republican from Fresno, had pushed for the audit, arguing that despite more money to address those infamous wait times at DMV branches, they've only gotten worse. He took to Twitter to air his frustration.

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The DMV received millions in extra funds last year to help with the rollout of "Real ID," part of new federal security guidelines. Starting in 2020, people who fly domestically will need a compliant ID card.

"[Wait times have] exploded all across the state," Patterson recently told KPCC's Take Two, adding that the agency "has done nothing with the resources they've been given."

Earlier this week, DMV officials announced new actions to fix wait times, including redirecting hundreds of employees, adding a text notification feature and installing self-check-in kiosks. Sixty field offices have also added Saturday hours. The full list of those can be found here.

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