12. January 2006 · Comments Off on Real ID: States Say Too Soon And Way Underfunded · Categories: General

This AP story sounds like par for the course:

“It is just flat out impossible and unrealistic to meet the prescriptive provisions of this law by 2008,” Betty Serian, a deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said in an interview.

Nebraska’s motor vehicles director, responding to the survey by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, said that to comply with Real ID her state “may have to consider extreme measures and possibly a complete reorganization.”

And a new record-sharing provision of Real ID was described by an Illinois official as “a nightmare for all states.”

“Can we go home now??” the official wrote.


The August survey by the motor vehicle administrators’ group, which has not been made public, asked licensing officials nationwide for detailed reports on what it will take to meet Real ID’s demands.

It was not meant to produce an overall estimate of the cost of complying with Real ID. But detailed estimates produced by a few states indicate the price will blow past a February 2005 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated Congress would need to spend $100 million reimbursing states.

Pennsylvania alone estimated a hit of up to $85 million. Washington state projected at least $46 million annually in the first several years.

Separately, a December report to Virginia’s governor pegged the potential price tag for that state as high as $169 million, with $63 million annually in successive years. Of the initial cost, $33 million would be just to redesign computing systems.

It remains unclear how much funding will come from the federal government and how much the states will shoulder by raising fees on driver’s licenses.

“If you begin to look at the full ramifications of this, we are talking about billions and billions of dollars. Congress simply passed an unfunded mandate,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Every motorist in America is going to pay the price of this, of the Congress’ failure to do a serious exploration of the cost, the complexity, of the difficulty.”

I am not a big fan of the Real ID Act. But, on some things, you just have to ride the tide. That aside, I would guess that this whining by the several states, to say nothing of the ACLU, is blown way out of proportion.

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