Kentucky releases list of proposed Real ID offices

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com A sign at the entrance to the Driver’s License Office on E. Second Street in Owensboro notifies the public that Daviess County does not currently issue the REAL ID driver’s license.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has switched to a regional approach in regard to disseminating federally-mandated Real IDs.

In all, the cabinet has chosen 12 initial regional offices to spearhead the rollout of the Real ID to meet the federal deadline of Oct. 1, 2020. The regional offices are in Paducah, Madisonville, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Lexington, Florence, Somerset, Manchester, Jackson, Prestonsburg and Morehead.

Each location will serve as the hub for each of the cabinets 12 highway districts, with Owensboro-Daviess County's office being located in Madisonville, said Naitore Djigbenou, KYTC executive director, office of public affairs.

Owensboro-Daviess County is in KYTC District 2 along with Caldwell, Christian, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union and Webster counties.

"Madisonville is centrally located so surrounding counties can access it," she said. "We hope to expand the number of local offices and locations in the coming years, once we have set up the initial wave of regional offices. We used our district highway offices as a baseline to determine to first locations. We wanted to look at a place where we could utilize state-owned property first to accelerate our ability to open locations. That was the approach that we used for the entire state, not just in District 2."

Real IDs are 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 TSA (Transportation Security Administration) approved form of identification in order to fly after Oct. 1, 2020 or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require identification.

While Owensboro has been left out of the list of proposed locations, it is important to remember that the current list is only preliminary, said District 7 state Rep. Suzanne Miles.

"It hasn't gone before a committee and I think you will see a lot of versions before a final is determined," she said. "With the new administration coming in, we have no idea what direction that they have in mind in regards to the Real ID. It is too preliminary to make judgments at this point. At this point, we ask for the community's patience and for any input that they may have."

The KYTC's rationale for their proposal is to attempt to streamline a launch process that has been fraught with postponements. The use of KYTC offices in each district will allow for heightened efficiency, Djigbenou said.

"There still needs to be a legislative action and then there is room for our legislatures to weigh in," she said. "This is a preliminary look at how to set up quickly and efficiently. This is our starting off point as we develop future plans. If you want the ID, it will be a drive, for those that can't make the trip, there are other options, the key thing for folks to know is that there are no requirements to get these by Oct. 1, 2020, that is the enforcement date, you don't have to have it by then."

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

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