West Side residents will no longer have to cross the Rio Grande to get drivers licenses or register vehicles.
On Wednesday, Gov. Susana Martinez cut the ribbon on a full-service Motor Vehicle Division office at 9651 Eagle Ranch Road NW.
Martinez said the new location will create convenience and efficiency for the area, which covers northwest Albuquerque, Corrales, Rio Rancho, Sandoval County and northern Bernalillo County.
Eventually, more than 10,000 people a month are expected to use the office, making it one of the busiest in the state.
The West Side MVD replaces a Downtown location that did not provide some services such as driving tests and Vehicle Identification inspections.
John Monforte, acting secretary of tax and revenue, said he was happy to open the new MVD office – the first on the West Side since a Cottonwood Mall MVD closed in 2010 – and highlighted recent customer service improvements.
Average wait times have dropped dramatically, and 98 percent of MVD customers report that they had a positive experience. The computer system was overhauled a little over a year ago “on time and under budget,” Monforte said.
Administrators are regularly tracking “every facet of what a Motor Vehicle Division should look like,” he said.
Jerry Valdez, MVD deputy director, said it’s important for the organization to run effectively because it “touches the lives of every single person in the state.”
In addition to the convenience, the new MVD office is also fueling growth on the West Side. It will anchor a roughly seven-acre development south of Cottonwood Mall along Eagle Ranch Road, which will include retail and office space.
“The fact that this is here and driving traffic will be a great catalyst for the rest of the development,” said Lance Sigmon, co-founder of Allen Sigmon Real Estate Group.