The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is poised to open the Daviess County REAL ID office in just days.

According to KYTC Office of Public Affairs Deputy Executive Director Chuck Wolfe, KYTC hopes to have the Daviess County location ready to go on Jan. 18.

REAL ID is a federally mandated form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a REAL ID or another Transportation Security Administration-approved form of identification in order to fly after Oct. 1, 2021, or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require identification.

However, that date is tentative as they face the moving process, the installation of cameras and network systems and staffing as well as any obstacles the pandemic may throw their way, Wolfe said.

For Daviess Fiscal Court and Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly, the completion and impending opening of the office is exciting, especially given that early on, the office was meant to be housed at the KYTC District 2 Office in Madisonville.

Initially, the REAL ID and all licensing and identification were under the umbrella of the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, until Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 453, sponsored by Sal Santoro, a Florence Republican, on March 27 making KYTC the sole application and issuance entity for operator’s licenses and personal identification cards.

The bill also eliminated the requirements that these documents be applied for in one’s county of residence, expanded the preexisting list of documents an applicant can use when applying and allowed applicants to choose between four to eight years before renewal.

In November 2019, the KYTC released a proposal meant to streamline the REAL ID launch process, which has been fraught with postponements. As part of this process, the cabinet named its 12 regional offices to spearhead the roll-out to meet federal deadlines. Those offices would have been in Paducah, Madisonville, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Lexington, Florence, Somerset, Manchester, Jackson, Prestonsburg and Morehead.

For the citizens of Daviess County, KYTC’s initial plan would have meant traveling to Madisonville, which did not sit well with Mattingly. The proposed regional office would not have been easily accessible for the citizens of Daviess or surrounding counties, Mattingly said.

After working with the KYTC, the court received the final executed agreement from the Division of Real Properties and KYTC on Aug, 2 allowing them to move forward with repurposing a portion of the Daviess County Operations Center for REAL ID, at 2620 Kentucky 81, said Jordan Johnson, county purchasing agent.

The court jumped into the planning phase by entering into an $18,100 contract with Axiom to draft the drawings and bid documents for the REAL ID office.

After the bidding process, the court unanimously voted on Oct. 1 to accept a $276,900 bid from Owensboro-based Hartz Construction Company to take on the renovations project.

The county assumed the cost of the project but will be able to recoup its expenses through an eight-year lease that will allow the county to receive $14.34 per square foot of the 2,315- square-foot office, which totals $33,197 annually. The lease will automatically renew after the initial eight-year cycle, Johnson said.

The county began collecting rent on Dec. 8, said Mattingly.

“Our original completion date was Dec. 17 and we finished and it was turned over to KYTC on Dec. 8,” he said. “Hartz Construction did a fantastic job on the project. We are excited to see the project come to an end and that we have a REAL ID office available to not only the people of Owensboro-Daviess County but our surrounding counties as well. My goal was to get them where they needed to be so that they could open at the first of the year and it looks like that is going to happen.”

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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