Uncle Sam may be tacking ten bucks onto the cost of your next drivers' license — in the name of national security. By May of 2008, the states will need to be in compliance with the federal Real I-D law, which Wisconsin House Republican Jim Sensenbrenner helped pass through Congress last year. Patrick Fernan, Director of Driver Services for the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles, says the agency expects costs to comply with Real ID for the first two years will total approximately $21 million. "We're proposing a $10 federal security fee be applied to each drivers license and I-D card," in order to cover the costs of that unfunded federal mandate," says Fernan.
That's assuming that Congress is unable or unwilling to come up with the money — projected at $11 billion nationwide over five years. Fernan notes that Wisconsin Transportation Secretary, Frank Busalacchi , recently sent a letter to the state's congressional delegation, asking that Real I-D be funded at the federal level.
Failing that, the additional $10 fee would bring the cost of an eight year license renewal to $34, assuming the legislature and Governor Jim Doyle approve.