MVA plans center in Essex Site search launched for full-service site, proposed for 1999

November 27, 1997|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Hoping to ease consumer logjams that haunt nearly all vehicle registration and licensing transactions, state Motor Vehicle Administration officials this week said they are searching for a site to open a full-service office in Essex by 1999.

With development booming in the eastern portion of Baltimore County -- including sprawl in White Marsh and Perry Hall -- officials said the county needs its first all-purpose center, offering driving tests as well as renewal, registration and titling services.

Drivers in the eastern part of the county now use a limited-service MVA office on Eastern Boulevard in Essex for vehicle registration, titling and driver's licenses.

But they must travel to Mondawmin Mall's MVA office or to MVA headquarters in Glen Burnie for driver testing and tag renewals -- often a daunting task because the wait at those locations can last hours.

"It's part of our attempt to be a user-friendly agency," said William J. Long, MVA's chief deputy administrator. "We are committed to providing all those services to Baltimore County."

The Essex facility would become one of 13 full-service centers statewide in addition to six express offices that offer limited service, said MVA spokesman Jim Lang.

It's all part of a broader effort by MVA administrators to offer convenience to customers. Recently, the agency opened a traveling service center on a Mass Transit Administration bus and installed 10 registration renewal booths in malls and shopping centers around Maryland that resemble an automated teller machines.

Next July, the agency plans to open a full-service operation on a 6-acre parcel near Howard University in the Washington metropolitan area.

Lang said the $2.3 million center will ease crowding at Gaithersburg and Largo MVA offices, which handle more than a million transactions each year.

The Essex center is expected to be located within five miles of the current office, Long said. No cost estimate has been made.

Long predicted the center could draw up to 200,000 transactions a year -- nearly double the 131,448 transactions recorded in 1996 at the current office.

The idea of a center in Essex drew applause from Ron Coscia, an Essex resident who visited his neighborhood MVA office Monday to return a set of license plates.

"This is better than going to Glen Burnie and spending half a day," said Coscia. "It's really going to help me."

Pub Date: 11/27/97

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