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Plan for B&W Canadian-made NY driver licenses draws ire

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Members of the region's state delegation are trying to derail plans to have New York's driver licenses made in Canada. The Department of Motor Vehicles is ready to give its business to the highest bidder, which would cost residents millions of dollars.

The state DMV allegedly set out to save money by finding a new vendor to print licenses but, in the end, chose the highest bid, which came in nearly $38 million more than the current vendor who has had the contract for more than a decade.

Not only would they be more expensive, but the licenses would also go from color to black and white.

State Senator Mark Grisanti says the DMV's decision is an outrage in light of the state's already tight budget and the thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Grisanti has called on Lt. Governor Robert Duffy to look into the matter.

"We don't have an extra $38 million floating around out there," Grisanti told WBFO News.

The poor decision also means taxpayers will have to pay the cost of defending the DMV from the lawsuits filed by the lower bidders.

The State Comptroller is reviewing the bidding process and the low bidders are suing the DMV. Grisanti says not only should a cheaper solution be found, but the government should also be supporting local companies.

"We have Kodak here in Rochester that I'm sure...has the ability, had they known about, to try to produce something that's made right here in New York State," Grisanti said.

"We want to promote local business. We have smart people here in Western New York. We have the technology. It doesn't make sense," added Assemblyman Michael Kearns.  

Grisanti says he plans to introduce legislation next year that would encourage Albany to hire and contract with New York companies first.