I remember the six months leading up to my 16th birthday. I absolutely could not wait to get my driver's license - I was beside myself with excitement. I think I woke my dad up at 6:00 a.m. that May 26th and tormented him mercilessly until he took me to the RMV to take my written test. Once I had the permit, the true harassment of my poor father really began. Every day after school, every weekend, there I was asking, "Can we go driving Dad, can we?!" After I finished driver's ed at school, I nagged endlessly until he took me for my road test. As I recall, we just showed up the day I was ready for my road test. I think we waited 15 minutes for an examiner once we got there, as there were numerous other long-suffering parents with eager 16 year olds who had also arrived at the crack of dawn.
According to a May 3rd Boston Globe story, today's teenagers face a much longer wait than I did. If my father were trying to schedule my road test today, he'd have to spend 30-45 minutes on hold on the phone, only to be told that the first available appointment was many weeks away. Evidently, the Registry in Massachusetts has cut back from 59 examiners to 35.5. That's a 40% decrease in examiners. Why? You guessed it - budget cuts.
Imagine my father with his incredibly impatient teenager, discovering that it would be another month or six weeks until I could take my test. Six more weeks of, "Can we go driving Dad, can we?!" The poor man probably would have just left me at the RMV!
Administering driving tests to teenagers - and immigrants, and people upgrading to a commercial license for a job, and people getting a motorcycle, and anyone else who needs such a test - is a basic function of government, and one that almost all of us will encounter at least a few times in our lives. Massachusetts is so starved for revenue, that our Commonwealth cannot perform this basic function in a reasonable way any more. None of us wants our government to function this way. We need to raise revenue and invest in the services that are provided in our local communities to keep our economy growing and enhance the quality of life for all of us.
I passed my driver's test on the first try by the way, and naturally insisted on triumphantly driving home. As we pulled into driveway I asked my father in my most serious voice, "So Dad, do you need me to run any errands for you?" He did not. We walked into the house where I had the same question for my mother. My dad piped up, "Yeah Judy, she'll run to the store for you for a dozen eggs - one at a time." "Sure I will!" I said eagerly, sensing an opening. I didn't even notice the two of them rolling their eyes at me.