Arizona motorists will face longer lines and higher costs at Motor Vehicle Division offices as the state is forced to comply with new federal laws that will turn the driver’s license into a national ID card.
Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said Monday it will cost "tens of millions of dollars’’ — if not more — for Arizona to comply with the Real ID Act.
That law, approved in June, imposes requirements on states before they can issue licenses.
And those costs, said Nintzel, are going to have to be passed on to customers.
But Nintzel said the real impact is going to be in terms of time and inconvenience, as Arizonans are going to have to wait in line longer at MVD offices to get a license.
And unlike today, it’s going to be a recurring problem: That’s because the federal law will make licenses good for only eight years. Now, Arizona issues licenses that are valid until the holder turns 65.
And renewal online or by phone may become history.
The new mandate takes effect in 2008.
Members of the National Governors Association complained about the new rule at their meeting Monday in Iowa.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is on a trade mission in England and did not attend the conference.
Nintzel said ADOT could not yet predict the higher costs.
"It’s a big, unfunded mandate passed on to the states,’’ Nintzel said.
Part of the problem, he said, are the requirements for independent verification of documents.
One unanswered question, said Nintzel, is whether people’s unexpired licenses will remain valid. He said ADOT is studying the federal law to see if motorists will have to get new licenses.