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$3.2 Million In FEMA Funds Will Allow For Demolition And Replacement Of BMV Office On St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Office of Disaster Recovery said that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has received an obligation of $3,231,954 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program that will provide for the demolition and replacement of the department’s main office on St. Thomas.

Located in Sub base, the one-story building suffered extensive damage when winds, heavy winddriven rain, overland flooding and tidal surge associated with 2017 hurricanes swept the area.

“The monies will allow us to build a longstanding user-friendly facility, one that we have been waiting for, for a very long time,” BMV Director Barbara Jackson-McIntosh said. “The community will benefit from adequate
parking and a building that is handicap accessible.” Director McIntosh continued, “We’ve been working in less than desirable conditions for a very long time, so along with the community, the staff will experience a modern,
up-to-date facility with the latest technology.”

The losses to the St. Thomas location amassed to over $5M, between FEMA direct funds and proceeds from insurance, the BMV now has sufficient resources to take the next steps to begin the design of the new facility.

Despite its current state, the building is still used to conduct drivers’ written tests, renewals and vehicle licensing and inspections.

It will be rebuilt to accommodate staff, a waiting and test room, cashiers, and vehicle inspection bays.

“For far too long, residents and staff that utilize the St. Thomas office have had to endure sub-par conditions and reduced services,” said Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne Williams-Octalien. “Through the
support of our federal and local stakeholders, the BMV will finally begin to rebuild the St. Thomas location, construction should be complete by April 2022.”

The project to replace the department’s office on St. Croix is still under review from FEMA.

Meanwhile, readers of the V.I. Free Press on St. Thomas wondered why it takes a half year to renew a driver’s license at BMV.

“Maybe they could figure out how to renew licenses without a wait of five to six months for an appointment,” Mucki Wesley said. “I seriously don’t understand how the commissioner’s and the Governor think that is ok .. it’s not brain surgery – it’s done all over the world — how can they not figure out to renew licenses in a timely manner — I mean we did it 30 years ago, what’s the problem???”

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