By Mark E. Vogler
---- — LAWRENCE — State Rep. Frank Moran has obtained the support of 40 legislators who signed his petition opposing the closing of 18 registry of motor vehicle offices across the state, including the Lawrence Branch.
“The closing of these 18 branches and consolidating them into Regional Centers will cause a significant inconvenience to many citizens across Massachusetts,” Moran, D-Lawrence, wrote to state Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey.
“Closing these locations will make it difficult for the elderly, disabled, and those with low wage jobs to transport to a further away location. It was also make it impossible for many who work full time to visit the RMV on their lunch break. The difference between traveling 10 miles and 30 miles to a RMV location is the difference for many between being a licensed and unlicensed driver,” he said.
Moran questioned whether the proposal being considered by the DOT was a costs-saving measure, noting the registry — the second largest revenue producer of any state agency — collects more than $1.2 billion a year, but only spends five cents for every dollar it generates in revenue.
“The consolidation of RMV branches will also take jobs away from the State employees who currently work at the 18 locations,” Moran said.
“The plan to outsource Registry functions to AAA and create a two tiered system presents a problem. Issuing licenses and registrations is not just a regulatory function, it is a public safety function as well. These functions should be performed by public employees who have no interest other than applying the law and regulations accurately,” he said.
Under the DOT’s proposal, 12 new regional centers would be established, including one in Haverhill. Branch offices in Boston, Greenfield, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket would be the only ones surviving the closures.
Area legislators signing the petition include state Rep. Linda Campbell, D-Methuen; state Rep. Marcos A. Devers, D-Lawrence; state Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen; state Rep. James Lyons, R-Andover; state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover; and state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester.