Allegheny County leading in number of Real ID cards
More than 28,000 Allegheny County residents applied for and received a federally enhanced driver’s license and ID card in the first three months of Real ID in Pennsylvania, state transportation data shows.
No other county had more.
The roughly 7,600 cards issued in Westmoreland County placed it in the top 10 of early adopters.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began issuing in March the federally compliant cards that will be accepted as identification to fly domestically or enter a military base or many federal buildings, starting on Oct. 1, 2020. (A U.S. passport or military ID are also acceptable forms of ID.) Transportation officials expect 25% of cardholders to opt for a Real ID, but have expressed concern that too few were doing so ahead of the deadline of Oct. 1, 2020.
As of the end of July, about 284,000 Pennsylvanians had gotten a Real ID, or roughly one in four of those expected to get one.
“Currently, between 23% and 25% of customers who renew their license are opting in, which is a good sign,” said Alexis Campbell, a PennDOT spokeswoman.
Campbell did not speculate on why Allegheny County residents account for 13% of all issued Real IDs while Philadelphia County for just 5%. Westmoreland residents accounted for 3.5% of all newly issued Real IDs.
Of the 12 Real ID Centers in which customers can walk in with documents and out with a federally compliant card, the Bridgeville site on Washington Pike has been the busiest in the state. The Bridgeville center issued more than 7,500 Real IDs in the past three months. It is the only location in Southwestern Pennsylvania that can issue a Real ID license on the spot. Applications are accepted at all driver’s license centers, but with the new license delivered by mail within 15 business days.
“We’re pleased that local residents are responding but the majority of people have not applied,” said Bob Kerlik, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which oversees Pittsburgh International Airport. “We certainly don’t want to see anyone’s travel plans interrupted in 2020 and beyond because they don’t have the right identification.”
Passed by Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Real ID Act establishes federal security standards for state driver’s licenses and ID cards. A Real ID-compliant driver’s license is not necessary for driving and other routine ID requirements.
Obtaining the federally-enhanced card requires specific documents: a state-issue birth certificate (with a raised seal) or a U.S. passport, a Social Security card, and two proofs of address (such as a utility bill or a vehicle registration).