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Vote To Move North Carolina DMV Headquarters Delayed

Specialty license plates are becoming more common in North Carolina.
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
N.C. Department of Transportation

Updated Feb. 5 at 9:28 a.m.  

Governor Roy Cooper has asked the Council of State to delay a vote on moving the Division of Motor Vehicles from Raleigh to Rocky Mount. But it's not clear the delay will help Raleigh's cause. In 2011, the North Carolina Department of Transportaiton met with the state Construction Office and the Department of Insurance and determined that upgrading the DMV building on New Bern Avenue, in Raleigh, would be too costly. After spending approximately $625,000 on short-term fixes, such as intalling new fire alarms and asbestos mitigation, it was decided DMV must relocate its HQ by October 2020.

The most competitive bid on a 15-year lease for a new headquarters came from Rocky Mount at an average annual cost of $2.4 million. State Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) opposes the relocation. Blue's district includes DMV's current home, in Raleigh, which employs more than 400 people. Blue issued a statement last week, saying: "These employees are some of the lowest paid workers in state government."

"To ask them to take on the finacial burden of a two-hour daily commute is punishing them to go to work every day," Blue added.

A DOT analysis calculated the average daily one-way commute for a current DMV employee to the Rocky Mount site would be almost 60 miles and take around 57 minutes.

Durham made the second most competitive bid, an an average annual cost of $2.6 million.

The state legislature still must allocate funding for the move and lease.

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
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