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Unger says Jefferson DMV gets a green light

July 21, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - State Sen. John Unger said he received an assurance Wednesday from officials in Charleston, W.Va., that a Division of Motor Vehicles office will open near Charles Town.

"The Jefferson County DMV is a go," Unger said.

Robert Ferguson Jr., secretary of administration for the governor's office, has given the project a green light, although some details, including the site of the Division of Motor Vehicles office, remain unknown, said Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson.

The DMV office would be the second in the Eastern Panhandle, with an office in Martinsburg now serving residents of both Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

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Once the DMV office opens in Jefferson County, it should benefit residents of both counties. The nearest DMV office to Martinsburg is in Hampshire County.

With fewer people relying on the Martinsburg office, lines there should be shorter.

"This, by far, is going to go a long way in serving the residents of the Eastern Panhandle," which is increasing in population by 17 percent every year on average, Unger said.

At least $550,000 has been set aside for the project, with the state planning to lease office space for 10 years.

Del. Bob Tabb, D-Jefferson, has been an outspoken advocate for the DMV office.

Opening such an office is a necessity, Tabb said.

"The governor said West Virginia is open for business, and I'm holding him to that," Tabb has said. "I told them I don't look to take no for an answer. I don't have a Plan B."

The DMV office in Martinsburg is the second-busiest of the state's 22 offices, behind only the one in Charleston, W.Va., Tabb said.

A recent visit by Tabb to the Martinsburg DMV reinforced the need for another office, he said.

Although the Martinsburg office opens at 8:30 a.m., Tabb got in line at 7:45 a.m. - behind 75 to 100 other early-risers. Traffic for the DMV's drive-through was backed up onto Edwin Miller Boulevard to a nearby Sheetz gas station, Tabb has said.

Tabb, who needed to renew licenses, did not leave the building until around 10:15 a.m.

Unger said he hopes the DMV office in Jefferson County opens within a year.

A possible location is the Bardane Industrial Park off W.Va. 9 west of Charles Town, Unger said.

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