Proposal would prevent price hikes, service cuts resulting from privatization
JUNEAU – The Department of Administration is currently advancing a plan to privatize Division of Motor Vehicles offices in Eagle River, Homer, Tok, Valdez, Delta Junction, and Haines, which would result in steep price hikes on Alaskans.
In response, legislators will be introducing a bill aimed at preventing negative consequences for Alaskans in each of the communities facing potential impacts.
For example, elimination of DMV services in Haines would force residents to travel by boat or make an extremely long road trip with multiple border crossings to access a DMV in Skagway. In Valdez, residents would be forced to drive 120 miles over a mountain pass that is sometimes impassable in winter or take a ferry to Anchorage. In Eagle River, residents would face significant delays, particularly those attempting to travel to an Anchorage DMV during rush hour. And in Tok and Delta Junction, the closure would force residents to drive as far as 200 miles for DMV services in weather conditions that can be deadly in winter in the event of a vehicle breakdown. Even if the facilities were replaced by private companies, prices are likely to double for key services.
“Alaskans rely on our vehicles to get to work and support our families,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), who is crafting a bill to preserve DMV access. “We must preserve access and keep fees affordable.”
“The Department of Administration should hit pause on their privatization and price hike plan until there is adequate opportunity for oversight,” added Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka), chair of the House State Affairs Committee and a supporter of the new bill.
Alaska House Coalition