Rep. Owlett to introduce legislation to force PennDOT to reopen rural DMV sites

WELLSBORO, Pa. – Frustrated by PennDOT’s ongoing failure to commit to restoring the full array of driver and vehicle services to rural communities like the ones he represents, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/ Bradford/ Potter) will soon introduce legislation forcing the agency into action.

“For more than a year, folks in my area who needed to take a driver license test have had to travel as much as an hour and a half to do so because local testing services were suspended due to COVID-19,” Owlett said. “It’s crazy that we still can’t take a test locally, and even more crazy that PennDOT will not even commit to a date for resuming their ‘travel services’ across rural PA.”

Owlett explained there are 20 communities across rural Pennsylvania that are served by PennDOT staff who travel to the locations once or twice a week to offer certain types of services, such as driving tests. While the centers have been open for driver license photos, many services remain unavailable to rural residents without the inconvenience of traveling a long distance.

“No one should have to take a half or full day off work just to take a driver test,” Owlett said. “Government agencies should be all about customer service and convenience. I recently authored legislation, now awaiting action in the Senate, to force the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to better meet the needs of its consumers, and now PennDOT has forced me to do the same with them.”

“I’m tired of rural Pennsylvanians being dismissed by this administration. PennDOT should show some respect to our rural residents and get the centers back up and running fully immediately,” he added.

The proposed Rural Access to PennDOT Services Act would require PennDOT to reopen the sites to the operational level that these sites were at prior to the pandemic within two weeks of enactment.

Travel sites are located in the following communities: Bedford, Bedford County; Belle Vernon, Fayette County; Berwick, Columbia County; Clarion, Clarion County; Coudersport, Potter County; Elizabethville, Dauphin County; Honesdale, Wayne County; Huntingdon, Huntingdon County; Indiana, Indiana County; Lehighton, Carbon County; Milford, Pike County; Montrose, Susquehanna County; Seneca, Venango County; Shamokin, Northumberland County; St. Mary’s, Elk County; Tunkhannock, Wyoming County; Warren, Warren County; Waynesburg, Greene County; Wellsboro, Tioga County; and West Kittanning, Armstrong County.