Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles has started a pilot program that allows outside contractors to handle drivers’ license renewals.
The privatization program is being tested in Baton Rouge and Metairie. In each city, a public tag agent — a private business that processes vehicle title registrations — is also able to renew state drivers’ licenses.
State Police Col. Mike Edmonson, who oversees Louisiana’s motor vehicle offices, said Monday that the program is designed to expand renewal options in cities with long OMV lines and wait times.
Each of the two locations charges an extra $18 fee to renew the license, on top of the regular fees charged at a state-run motor vehicles office.
Edmonson said if the pilot initiative proves successful, he wants to add it to other cities. But he said the privatization effort won’t shutter any of the state’s 83 existing OMV offices.
“No offices are being closed. No personnel are being laid off,” Edmonson said. “Nothing will change. It just gives you additional places.”
The public tag agents don’t get any money from the state for doing the license renewals, but they can charge up to an $18 transaction fee, which is what both locations have done in the pilot program, Edmonson said.
He said some people accept the extra charge for the convenience of a faster license renewal. “Some people just want the ease, and they pay more.”
Anyone getting a first-time driver’s license must still visit the state-run OMV office.