Jump to content
Washington DC Message Boards

Drivers License Security Measure


Recommended Posts



States fear federal security measures for driver's licenses could cost millions

Friday, September 01, 2006

Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Associated Press

Columbus -- States already worried about a deadline to meet new federal security measures for driver's licenses say the proposal will cost far more than the congressional estimate of $100 million.


California alone, with 25 million licensed drivers and ID card holders, says it will cost $500 million over five years to comply with the law that came out of the investigation into the 2001 terrorist attacks.


A December report to the Virginia governor's office estimates initial costs from $35 million to $169 million, with ongoing annual costs as high as $63 million.


"Where's the money coming from?" asked D.B. Smit, commissioner of Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles. "We've got a situation where the federal government is saying you will do certain things a certain way and the citizens of the commonwealth have to pick up the check."


State vehicle agencies are generally funded by a combination of gasoline taxes, fees and fines, meaning extra costs are bound to be passed to consumers.


The 2005 Real ID act, while authorizing Congress to pay for the changes, doesn't specify an amount. The Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost the government about $100 million over five years to implement the law.


States are awaiting a detailed blueprint of requirements from the Department of Homeland Security. In the meantime, states estimated their costs, based on equipment they expect to purchase, training they must do and the potential hiring of new employees.


The requirement that states digitally record and save all documents used to obtain a license could cost Ohio $10.5 million. Overall, the state says it could cost about $45 million to implement the law, with about $15 million in new, annual costs.


The Real ID requirements grew out of a recommendation by the Sept. 11 commission calling for tighter security for driver's licenses.


Seven of the Sept. 11 hijackers exploited a loophole that allowed people to obtain drivers' licenses and ID cards by submitting sworn statements instead of proof of residency or identity.


Real ID requires states to incorporate common security features to prevent tampering or counterfeiting, such as using standard materials in every state to print the cards. States will have to verify the legitimacy of documents used to obtain a license and adopt a common definition of a person's full, legal name.


States are increasingly nervous about meeting the May 2008 deadline for initial compliance.


In Ohio, with a stubbornly high unemployment rate and a recent history of tight budgets, officials are leery of spending millions on the federal law's requirements.


The state prides itself on same-day issuance of driver's licenses in most cases, something that would disappear under the new system, said Fred Stratmann, a spokesman for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.


He says it's one thing for airline passengers to put up with the hassle of airport security and higher ticket prices to pay for safe flying.


"You go through this at the BMV and everyone walks out with a driver's license," Stratmann said. "As a consumer you're going to ask, What's the point of all that?' "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...