Editorial: Pennsylvania to blame for low Real ID applications
Pennsylvania is concerned that people aren’t jumping on the Real ID bandwagon.
Hmm. It’s hard to figure out how 12.8 million people could have gotten the idea that it doesn’t matter.
Pennsylvania has balked and delayed to implement Real ID at every turn for years. Yes, the state has finally booked a seat on that bandwagon, but maybe it’s just too late.
The Real ID is the upcharged version of a driver’s license or state-issued identification card that includes more security verification. Congress passed the requirements for it after the 9/11 terror attacks.
No one is required to get the Real ID, but come October 2020, it will be harder to do some things in Pennsylvania without one.
Like get on an airplane, or walk into the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh.
But it won’t be impossible. What the Department of Transportation may have forgotten is that they aren’t the only identification game in town.
While Pennsylvania has been holding its breath and turning blue, refusing to implement Real ID, residents have still been planning trips and going places. And with more borders becoming more secure, that means more people have been getting the one form of identification that trumps all others.
The number of Pennsylvanians applying for passports has been rising in recent years. Since 2012, Keystone State applications have gone up 60%. In that six-year period, the U.S. State Department has handed out 3.76 million passports, which are good for 10 years rather than four, like a driver’s license.
Is that really a lot? It’s almost a third of the state’s population and just under half of the 8.8 million licensed drivers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and it doesn’t count people who have still-valid passports issued in 2009-11.
So it looks like many Pennsylvanians saw the value in a well-vetted identification card years before the state did, and just couldn’t wait for Pennsylvania to jump on the bandwagon.