Tuesday, May 8, 2018

76,000 Detroiters could have driver's licenses restored early under new program

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 11:26 AM

click to enlarge Downtown Detroit street view. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Downtown Detroit street view.

Detroiters who’ve lost lost their licenses and have yet to restore them due to unpaid Driver Responsibility Fees now have an opportunity to get their licenses back free of charge — but they’ll have to go through some workforce training first.

Under a program unveiled today by city officials, Detroit residents can get their licenses back and have their debt forgiven ahead of the state’s October forgiveness date if they complete 10 hours of workforce training. In March, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation to forgive the debts of nearly 350,000 drivers who owed a more than $600 million in fees in total. About 76,000 of those Michiganders are Detroiters who owe the state an average of $1,600, city officials say.

The city lobbied the state for permission to create the program, arguing that the inability to drive was keeping Detroiters from getting work. The state reportedly wasn’t expecting to collect much of the fees owed anyway.

“Along with the need for training, Driver Responsibility Fees have been one of the biggest barriers to connecting Detroiters to jobs and opportunity,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a media release detailing the program. “It’s not just an issue for logistics opportunities like truck driving. We are seeing significant growth in skilled trades opportunities, but these jobs often require a license because workers may need to be at a worksite on the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon.”

Residents can start the fee forgiveness process by visiting detroitatwork.com/drf.

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