Already alarmed that California is falling short in issuing Real IDs to millions who need them, state lawmakers now worry the efforts will be further hampered by the coronavirus outbreak, which they believe will discourage people from visiting crowded DMV field offices.
The anxiety surfaced Wednesday as legislators heard the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ request for an additional $200 million to continue ramped-up efforts to issue the federally required IDs to the estimated 8 million residents who are expected to file an application this year. More than 10 million additional drivers in the state also don’t have a Real ID license but aren’t expected to immediately request one.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) predicted the outbreak, which the World Health Organization labeled a pandemic on Wednesday, will force the federal government to consider extending the Oct. 1 deadline for requiring that people show a Real ID to board domestic airline flights.
“I think they may have to,” said Ting, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “You can’t tell people to stay home and then tell them to go someplace to pick up a license.”
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