Friday, June 3, 2016

License Renewal Time

It's June, which is my birthday month, which in turn means it's license renewal time.
Michigan requires each person to renew their auto registration, license plates, and driver's license on their birthday. Same as most states, I assume. The auto registration happens every year, and you get a new license plate tag. My car's actual license plate is less than 10 years old, so I don't have to replace it just yet. Driver's license is every four years, which for me falls on this year.

I'm pretty happy with the Michigan Secretary of State office's renewal system. The online system works very well for basic renewal functions, so on most years I don't have to go stand in line anywhere. The last time I had to actually go to an office was four years ago, at my last driver's license renewal. That's mostly just so they can update your picture, which happens at every other renewal.

It's a bit unfortunate that the renewal cost hasn't gone up. I've paid the same for at least the last four years. (I'm too lazy to go look up prior years, but it's been a while since it's changed.) That sounds odd, I know - who wants to pay more?

You may remember the road funding package that our state legislature finally passed at the end of last year, which included raising registration fees. But that doesn't take effect until 2017, conveniently after the next election. Even when it does kick in, the extra fees (and higher gas tax) won't provide all the funding requested by the Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, the roads continue to get worse.

So yes, I'm a little disappointed that my renewal fee wasn't higher. It will be next year, and that's at least a step in the right direction. Not a big enough step, though. Perhaps next year, on a non-election year, the state government can get their act together and create a road funding plan that makes sense. Also, pigs may fly, but I'm not holding out much hope in either case.

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