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REAL ID Equals Real Big Money

by: John McClelland

Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 14:19:02 PM CST

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that the estimated cost of implementing REAL ID Act requirements into the Department of Public Safety's issuance of driver's licenses will now cost Texas 20 times more than originally estimated.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials now estimate the cost of implementing the feds' controversial REAL ID Act will be a whopping $268 million.

DPS Director Tommy Davis delivered the bad news yesterday to a surprised House Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal Justice.

Details: More than 700 new full-time employees over five years.

The new tally is much higher than the earlier $13 million estimate to implement the changes mandated by Congress in how states issue the drivers licenses. The feds are not giving states any money to make the necessary changes, and several states have bucked up at the cost.

The Legislative Budget Board earlier estimated the cost to all states at $11 billion.

If states don't comply with the new rules, the feds have promised to stop honoring their drivers licenses as ID at airports and other places.

I am curious why it is going to cost $268 million to effectively create a new id card with information that the current TX driver's license already has on it.

Tags: REAL ID Act, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Lege, (All Tags)
REAL ID Equals Real Big Money | 11 comments | Post A Comment
Costs (0.00 / 0)
There are several potential reasons for the steep bill.

First is that the REAL ID Act requires the ID card to be encoded in such a way that it is readable by any state or federal agency.  That means there are design costs associated with the encoding of information on the ID cards, the development of the card readers, the software for the card readers, and then all the costs of dealing with compatibility issues.  Those costs might increase if each state and the federal government use different vendors, which would involve all sorts of licensing issues to ensure compatibility between different devices and software.  On the other hand, if a single vendor is used for everything, compatibility savings might be offset by lack of competition and choice.

Second are the administrative costs associated with reissuing new cards, auditing information, and addressing errors or disputes.  Procedures must be created to deal with missing or conflicting information, appeals by applicants who contest the accuracy of information, and to deal with any interesting facts discovered during the transition, such as an applicant with outstanding warrants or living under a false identity or fake documents.  Most likely, a whole department with new personnel will need to be created to handle all of the paperwork, disputes, appeals, etc.

Another potentially large expense are the privacy procedures and protections that must be put in place.  Although the REAL ID Act does not create a civil cause of action for misuse of private information like most other personal data-related statutes, it still contains privacy protections.  Anyone who has dealt with the costs of compliance with HIPAA or other privacy laws knows that developing and implementing the necessary procedures can be very expensive.  These protections would also increase the cost of the hardware and software development.

The above are only some of the potential total costs associated with implementing the REAL ID Act.  Unfunded mandates such as the REAL ID Act are why there has been a growing consensus between both liberals and conservatives on the importance of a smart, nuanced approach to federalism that recognizes the cost of federal programs on the states.

"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." – H.L. Mencken

by: PI Lawyer @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 16:00:38 PM CST
[ Reply ]
more than producing a new card (0.00 / 0)
As I recall, this provision of REAL ID requires a lot of background-type work because the state's are required to verify who this person is and that they are legit (I know...a federal responsibility).

I may be remembering it wrong, but I think it requires some kind of biometric component that captures new types of information that DPS has never captured before.

At the time I think Sen. Van de Putte tried to raise the warning flag that it could cost $100m to bring Texas into compliance.

by: colin @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 16:19:35 PM CST
[ Reply ]
Don't we allready have this? (0.00 / 0)
It's called a passport. Why not just require everyone to have a passport. If we are requireing this, then it seems to me these d.l.'s should serve the same purpose as a passport and should be honored at the border as such. It is redundant to require a drivers license that meets national standards for identification and then to also require passports for border entry. No?

Prisoner of hope.
by: comeon @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 21:15:37 PM CST
[ Reply ]
That would be called a "national ID"
The R's have been pushing for it as a means to go after illegal immigrants for years.

All of this supposedly stems from the 9/11 hijackers having dl's.

by: colin @ Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 01:52:19 AM CST
[ Parent ]
I know but what's the difference
if the id has to meet national standards, set by the federal government in order that a d.l.'s can be used as reliable identification nationwide?
sounds like a national i.d. to me. just a rose by another name.

Prisoner of hope.
by: comeon @ Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 07:11:21 AM CST
[ Parent ]
No more online renewals (5.00 / 1)
It is also my understanding (per a friend at the DPS) that the reason for the additional 700 new employees at the DPS is that Texans will no longer be able to renew the licenses online or through the mail. You MUST go into the DPS at each renewal date to have another picture made, thumb print taken, etc. Thus many, many more employees will be needed at all DPS renewal offices.

Ready for this? My friend at the Dallas DPS said for people to expect waits of up to three to seven hours, even after the additional hirings. How's that for Homeland Security?

by: gayinmidland @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 21:29:58 PM CST
[ Reply ]
woo hoo!
I can't wait! I already find it retarded that you can't get a license when you actually go to the DPS as it is. They still have to mail it to you from Austin. Back in North Cackalacky they had machines from the 21st century that printed out your license in the office while you waited. Maybe DPS can get those with the $268 million.

John for Dallas City Council
by: John McClelland @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 22:03:26 PM CST
[ Parent ]
three to seven hours?
F*ing H*ll!

Probably cheaper and faster just to keep the current license process and make everyone get a passport.

by: jelyon @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 22:39:27 PM CST
[ Parent ]
The extra $255 million is for... (5.00 / 1)
lobbyist "fees."
by: jelyon @ Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 22:36:04 PM CST
[ Reply ]
REAL ID Requires (GPS?) Computer Chip in Driver's License (0.00 / 0)

Title II: Improved Security for Driver's Licenses and Personal Identification Cards - (Sec. 202) Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting State issued driver's licenses or identification cards unless such documents are determined by the Secretary to meet minimum security requirements, including the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features.

The following author interprets the above to mean the following. I would like to know if she is correct.


Diary Entry by Diane's News Clips


I hope you will contact your representatives and tell them to rescind H.R. Bill 418 before they stick a cowbell on us all.


H.R. 418 is a bill that the 109th Congress slipped into a bill for Katrina relief. H.R. 418 is a Jack-in-the-box bill which is set to become effective in May of 2008, just prior to the presidential elections.

This bill places into law a required driver's license and/or state I.D. that contains a GPS tracking chip. This bill requires all states to comply with no exceptions. For anyone who refuses to accept this satellite tracking chip, they will be denied access to any planes and flights whether domestic or international, and access to any Federal buildings in or out of the U.S.


Along with illegally tapping our phones and illegally opening our mail, we are now going to be globally tracked via satellite, like a package, any where we go. The next thing to come will be to lump our medical records, work records, school records, credit records and anything else about us under this chip-tracking device.


Now they are branding us and tracking us after they have throughly examined us. If they think you are worth anything you will be admitted to their world. Otherwise, you can ...

All that money may be necessary for all the lawsuits that will ensue because of these awful-at-protecting-our-information republicans who want to track us all at will ...and I would guess, especially before or on election day.

by: ProveOurDemocracy @ Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 00:13:08 AM CST
[ Reply ]
real id (0.00 / 0)
yeah, if haliburton gets the contract for all of the states, YEEEEHAWW! everybody wins!!!

why not have everyone get a PASSPORT (federal id with a system already in place...)?

why the heck do we need yet another form of id, when PASSPORTS are an accepted form, and already standardized...

man, this country is the most bass-ackwards hick farm on the planet. no wonder we are the world's favorite punchline.

by: albalovescholo @ Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 17:23:44 PM CST
[ Reply ]
REAL ID Equals Real Big Money | 11 comments | Post A Comment
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