Daviess Fiscal Court is working in conjunction with the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to find a permanent home for an Owensboro-Daviess County REAL ID Office.
In the meantime, KYTC has established a temporary REAL ID office on Second Street for training and is roughly a month out from being able to service the community, a KYTC official said.
Real IDs are a federally mandated form of identification that meet 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. 1or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require identification.
County officials will be meeting with the finance cabinet next week to show possible locations for the permanent office, said David Smith, Daviess County director of legislative services and ABC coordinator.
“The finance cabinet which handles property has contacted the county and they are moving aggressively to find space in Owensboro to do this in a quick manner,” he said. “They have two options, that is either expand space that they are leasing or lease with a local government to go into a new facility. To enter into a new lease with a new entity would require and RFP and could take up to a year.”
Aside from county officials, finance cabinet officials will also be meeting with current leasees, he said.
“We are going to show a variety of buildings,” he said. “Including the (Daviess County) courthouse, the newly acquired RiverPark EyeCare Building as well as the Operations Center on (Kentucky) 81.”
The plan, under former Gov. Matt Bevin, was to use the cabinet’s 12 regional offices in Paducah, Madisonville, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Lexington, Florence, Somerset, Manchester, Jackson, Prestonsburg and Morehead as the initial rollout locations.
Citizens of Owensboro-Daviess County, along with those in Caldwell, Christian, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union and Webster counties, were expected to utilize the KYTC District 2 office in Madisonville. The strategy under Gov. Andy Beshear is to double that number, Smith said.
“The Beshear administration, along with (Transportation) Secretary Gray, has been aggressive in not only opening the originally proposed 12 proposed by Bevin, but double that number,” he said. “That undertaking is quite a challenge. An issue they face, even with a permanent location, is that it may not be fully staffed, given that they are operating under a budget from two years ago that didn’t address staffing. They have some issues that won’t be addressed until the next budget in July. The impression I get from the state is that this is a high priority and they are investing the time it takes to get them done.”
The establishment of the temporary office, on the second floor of the McAtee Building on Second Street, is an attempt on the part of the transportation cabinet to streamline the rollout prior to the Oct. 1 federal deadline, said Naitore Djigbenou, KYTC executive director, office of public affairs.
“It has always been in our plan to open an Owensboro office,” she said. “We had one slated as part of our phase two — those offices we anticipated we would open after the October date. What is in place now is a satellite office. That satellite office is right now a place where we are testing the ability to issue. At this point, we are not encouraging people to come and get those on Tuesday and Thursday because it is testing. We will announce once that satellite office is in a position to bring more folks in.”
The cabinet expects to announce the Owensboro satellite opening within the next month, Djigbenou said.
“It would be helpful if a lot of traffic was not driven to that office yet,” she said. “Right now, they are just doing training with new staff and we aren’t at that point yet. It is a soft opening for now, but we will be putting out a call in the next month or so. We announced we had the Madisonville office because of its central positioning. So, it is a drivable distance. We know that Owensboro has an airport and a high population, so it was only a matter of timing.”
When the office does open, as is the case in other REAL ID offices around the state, they will only be accepting debit and credit card payments. Initially, the temporary office will also only serve the people of Daviess County and then open up regionally with the permanent office eventually serving as a regional hub, she said.
“We won’t be restrictive once we are ready to say we are serving a region, it doesn’t matter what county you live in, you can come to that office, like we are currently doing in Frankfort,” she said. “We just want these to be available as soon as possible. If people want to avoid that initial rush, their passports or military IDs will work as a real ID. We have also had a lot of people from around the state come to our Frankfort office where we are more than ready to accommodate.”
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, email@example.com