July 19, 2005 – Implementing recently passed legislation designed to secure, streamline and standardize the identification granting process among states is likely to be an expensive proposition for citizens and state governments. That is what several governors told colleagues and federal officials behind closed doors at the annual meeting of the National Governors Association this weekend, according to press reports.
States expect the costs of complying with the Real ID Act to top $500 million, the Financial Times reports.
The controversial Act became law in May, as part of the $82 billion emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It requires an extensive reworking of state motor vehicle laws to provide for enhanced security features in issuing driverâ€™s licenses. By 2008, the law will require state ID issuing agencies to ensure recipients are in the US legally, a provision which raised outcry from immigrant advocates.
According to the Associated Press, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell estimates it will cost his state over $100 million to implement the provisions fully.
Republican Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, chairman of the Governors Association, did not hide his criticism of the measure. "They have created a national nightmare and they'll probably be driving up the cost of the driver's licenses by three- or four-fold," the AP quoted Huckabee saying.
Directly after the bill passed, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) warned, "This Real ID Act will 'impose technological standards and verification procedures, many of which are beyond the current capacity of even the federal government," Federal Computer Week reported in May.