Feds tell Pa. to meet REAL ID requirement or face restrictions

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A federal judge ruled this week that Pennsylvania cannot have an extension on the REAL ID Act, which means residents may be barred from boarding commercial flights beginning in 2018.

The Real ID Act, passed in 2005, requires states to enhance the security of their driver’s licenses and bans federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses as identification from states that don’t meet the minimum standards.

Pennsylvania’s Act 38 of 2012 bars the governor or PennDOT from participating in REAL ID.

The solution for Pennsylvania residents, according to Doni Spiegel of AAA Central Penn, is to get a passport.

“This is a ruling by Homeland Security, so what they say is the way it is,” Spiegel said. “There’s nothing we can change about it.”

A passport would meet the security requirements to board a commercial flight. It costs about $110 and takes 4-6 weeks to get one.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said unless the state legislature lifts the ban on REAL ID, Pennsylvania residents will need an alternative, secure form of identification to get inside federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants beginning Jan. 30.

“The only exception is admittance to federal facilities for the purpose of applying for or receiving federal benefits. Each federal agency determines which secure identification it will accept,” PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said in a statement.

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