Maine realizes the Federal mandate on Real ID is unrealistic:
AUGUSTA – Two years from now, Mainers wanting to fly for business or pleasure may be barred from getting on the airplane. The federal Real ID act takes effect May 11, 2008, and state officials say there is no way Maine can be in compliance with the law that mandates various security measures dealing with driver’s licenses.
It would cost millions to implement, and new licenses likely would cost more than $100. “I don’t see how we could possibly meet all its requirements. I don’t see how any state could meet all the requirements by the deadline,” Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said. “This is something that could cost a couple of hundred billion dollars to do.”
Dunlap said the Real ID Act was passed a year ago as a result of the 9-11 Commission Report that was critical of the lack of security in obtaining identity documents such as driver’s licenses. But, he said, the Read ID Act has unrealistic schedules and provides little federal funding.
“It is a huge, unfunded federal mandate,” he said, “and it is totally unrealistic in its timelines.”
For example, Dunlap said, Maine has spent years and more than $14 million to set up the new computer system in his office to handle license and motor vehicle registrations. He said the federal law requires that all the states share, through databases, the personal information needed for a driver’s license.
“It simply can’t be done in a couple of years,” he said. Dunlap is joined in his criticism of the law by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, which issued a report last month critical of the lack of funding and unrealistic implementation schedule.
Dunlap said other states are as concerned as Maine. The New Hampshire House has passed a bill to opt out of the law, and its Senate has voted to study it. Other states are considering resolutions calling on Congress to adopt a more realistic implementation schedule.
All the states need to stand up and assert their constitutionally guaranteed powers on this issue. The Federal government is way out of line on this as well as nearly everything they currently do.