State Rep. Gina Calanni, D-Katy, convened with Katy leaders and Texas Department of Public Safety officials to consider the possibility of the DPS constructing a facility in western Harris County, according to a statement from Calanni’s office.
“Although we boosted funding by $200 million to hire more staff at DPS driver license offices, long wait times at locations in our area will continue to increase as our region grows,” Calanni said. “That’s why we must begin the process now to secure funding for a new DPS location during the next legislative session.”
During the 86th legislative session, the DPS requested funding for 15 additional fully staffed driver’s license facilities, including one in the Katy area, which ranked fourth on its list in terms of need, according to the statement.
The state demographer provided DPS with data to review projected population growth in Texas, which the DPS subsequently used to determine areas in need of new facilities, Kiefer Odell, Calanni’s chief of staff, said in an email.
She added the list was provided to all state legislators as part of the driver’s license plan, and despite Katy’s projected growth of 4%-6% in the next few years, no funding was allocated for a new facility in the community, per the statement.
The 86th Legislature only approved funding to increase the size of the Denton office as well as a new office in Angleton, which was not on the list, Odell said.
Since there are no driver’s license services in western Harris County, most area residents drive to Rosenberg for services, per the statement, but the Rosenberg facility and the Houston Gessner facility are both at capacity, according to the DPS.
Participants in the meeting included Calanni; Amanda Arriaga, the chief of the DPS driver’s license division; Jessica Ballew, the chief of DPS infrastructure operations; Jason Taylor, the regional director of the southeast region for the DPS; Katy Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris; Katy City Council Member Janet Corte; Katy City Administrator Byron Hebert; and Katy Police Department Chief Noe Diaz.
“Residents of western Harris County and House District 132 are understandably deeply frustrated that they must drive to Rosenberg or other locations far away from their community to simply renew their licenses or take a driver’s license test,” Calanni said in the statement. “Together, we can provide a solution to make sure our neighbors are not forced to drive across the region or waste their day waiting in long lines.”