The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) is calling for a one year delay on the implementation of the Real ID program by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Scheduled to take effect on May 11, 2008, the new DHS ruling mandates that drivers' licenses issued by states not in compliance with the federal government's Real ID guidelines cannot be used as valid identification at the nation's airports, and that travelers must then present a passport or other form of federally approved identification.
"ACTE is requesting this delay for several reasons," said the association's Executive Director, Susan Gurley, in an association release. "This is an identification program that is largely unknown to the traveling public, and it does not have unilateral support from the state governments. Business travelers from at least five states are going to be penalized because their locally elected officials have passed legislation prohibiting participation in this program. Sixteen other states, plus the District of Columbia, have yet to agree with the DHS."
The five states that have passed legislation refusing to comply with the new federal guidelines are: Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. As the Real ID program is presented now, travelers from these states will be denied boarding at the nation's airports using a drivers' license as identification. There are sixteen states still considering their stance on the issue. They are: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia.
While states must comply by May 11, the enforcement of the new rules does not come about until 2014.
"The traveling public needs more time to consider how these new regulations will affect them, and to be made aware of alternative efforts that may serve the same security objectives with less stress," said Gurley. "Divisive activity by pressuring states into accepting a mandate at the risk of inconveniencing travelers is not conducive to the best policy-making."