Costs of Real ID Act compliance at issue as SC deadline looms

Costs of Real ID Act compliance at issue as SC deadline looms

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – As the clock ticks towards to a January deadline, state lawmakers are working on a solution to make South Carolina IDs compliant with the federal Real ID Act.

Bills are currently in both the House and Senate to make changes to South Carolina driver's license and IDs. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has been assessing what changes would cost to both the state and drivers.

In a report recently created for the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, the DMV reported changes under a House bill drafted by Representative Mark Willis would cost the state close to $26 million if passed.

Some of those changes are credited toward advertising and equipment, but a whopping majority, $23 million, is due to temporary staff and overtime. The report cites the need for more than 100 additional staff members between now and 2020. It would also cover increased salary and mileage for relief customer service representatives.

According to the DMV, there are more than 3,531,000 driver's licenses in the state along with 12,500 ID holders. If everyone immediately made the switch to a compliant credential, the department estimates it would bring in more than $88 million of revenue. That money is automatically diverted to the state's Non-Federal Aid Highway Fund.

However, those who don't need to enter federal buildings or military bases don't have an immediate need for an ID that's compliant. Those who need it to fly domestically won't need one until January 2018. Because of that, the DMV's report claims it's too early to really know how much revenue a change would produce.

Currently, South Carolina IDs expire every ten years, but the House bill calls for a change to eight year IDs. The DMV estimates that change will eventually produce a 20 percent revenue increase for the Highway Fund.

RELATED: FAQ: REAL ID Act

The Real ID Act was passed by federal lawmakers more than a decade ago. It came in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, aiming to make IDs across the country more secure by requiring similar standards.

Many states have complied, but South Carolina is among the handful of states that has not. Without a compliant ID, South Carolinians would be required to use a passport for domestic travel.

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