Efforts to implement the federal Real ID Act in Wisconsin will move forward, but with less funding.
The Department of Transportation had requested just under $20 million to help meet the federal Real ID requirements, which are designed to add more security to drivers' licenses nationwide. However, a legislative committee on Tuesday voted to hold back $8.8 million of that funding until at least December.
State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) was critical of the program, but says the state needs to be ready for when it takes affect. He believes the reduced funding of about $11.2 million will allow the DOT to work towards implementing Real ID, while providing some oversight into how the money is spent. The DOT will be required to file a report in December, in which it can ask for the remaining money budgeted for the program.
State Representative Pedro Colon (D-Milwaukee) made an unsuccessful attempt to block all funding for Real ID. He says many other states have already rejected the mandate, and Wisconsin shouldn't be wasting the money.
But State Senator Mark Miller says the state can't afford to ignore the requirement. The federal government has said licenses issued under Real ID will be needed to fly on airplanes, enter federal buildings, and other purposes.
The Joint Finance Committee's action also prevents the state from closing any of its vehicle service centers.