Governors Balk at New US License Rules / Warn of Higher Costs

Governors balk at new US license rules Warn of higher costs, privacy concerns in push for standard IDs

By Robert Tanner, Associated Press

DES MOINES -- Fees for a new driver's license could triple. Lines at motor vehicles offices could stretch out the door. Governors warned yesterday that states and consumers would bear much of the burden for a terrorism-driven push to turn licenses into a national ID card.

"It's a huge problem," said Ed Rendell, Democrat of Pennsylvania. "Trying to make this work, there will be hell to pay." He said it would cost his state '$100 million plus' to restructure motor vehicle offices to respond to the new federal law called the REAL ID Act.

The law, passed in June as part of an $82 billion military spending bill, goes beyond an earlier measure that sought to standardize state driver's licenses. By 2008, states must begin to verify whether license applicants are legal residents of the United States.

That deadline brought the first question in a closed-door session between governors and federal officials on homeland security yesterday at the National Governors Association meeting.

The two groups also talked about pressures on National Guard troops and steps to better integrate state and local law enforcement with federal efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, governors said as they wrapped up their summer meeting.

Governors also met with a Veterans Affairs official and the Army general in charge of the National Guard to talk about efforts to help soldiers transition to civilian life and work after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the REAL ID Act prompted the strongest reaction.

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Monty Solomon
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