Pennsylvanians who fly once a year could spend a combined $1 billion to acquire passports by the end of 2018 as the state-issued ID will no longer be accepted for domestic air travel.

Keeping Identities Safe, a not-for-profit prevention group, performed an analysis that found Pennsylvanians’ pocketbooks will be hit if the state doesn’t come into compliance with a federal law. Travelers from a handful of states — including Pennsylvania — will no longer be able to fly domestically with just their driver’s license beginning in 2018.

The reason is because these states have decided not to adopt the federal government’s minimum identification card security standards — known as the Real ID Act.

Pennsylvanians will have to use alternate ID forms to pass TSA security checkpoints. The acceptable forms of ID include a passport, military ID or permanent resident card.

‘It’s a hassle’: Pennsylvania driver’s licenses will soon not be accepted to fly domestic

“These are very concerning numbers,” said Debra Bowman, executive director at the Aviation Council of Pennsylvania. “If Pennsylvania does not act quickly, businesses, families and residents in every corner of the state are going to be severely impacted.”

U.S. passports costs $110 for the books and $30 for the passport cards for first-time recipients.

Keeping IDentities Safe estimates that 5.8 million unique Pennsylvania residents will use air travel once during 2018. Since the TSA will no longer accept Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, those once per year travelers to spend between $406 and $966 million to acquire passports by the end of 2018.

Rhett Workman, with American Airlines, said forcing people to acquire another form of identification prior to traveling adds unnecessary and avoidable burden to their experience.

“The result will mean either missing important and often personal life events, or seeking alternative, less efficient forms of transportation,” Workman said. “In either scenario, Pennsylvanians of all types are being harmed.”

How will Pennsylvanians be affected by the federal Real ID Act?

But there is hope on the horizon. Gov. Tom Wolf announced in January that Pennsylvania was granted an extension until June 5, 2017 to fix state law to allow for federal REAL ID compliance.

The extension will allow the Wolf administration to work with the Pa. General Assembly to resolve Pennsylvania’s non-compliance during the current legislative session.

Pennsylvania is prohibited from developing new identification by the state’s 2012 Act 38, which restricts the commonwealth from participation in the Real ID Act. The Pennsylvania General Assembly’s issues with the Real ID included concerns about security and costs of implementing new processes.

The Real ID Act, passed in 2012, is intended to improve accuracy of state-issued identification documents to help inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Read the full report by Keeping Identities Safe here.

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(c)2017 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)

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