Input: Real ID spending to hit $2.5B by 2012

State and local governments will spend an estimated $2.5 billion complying with the Real ID Act through 2012, according to a new report from the market research firm Input Inc. of Reston, Va.

Under the Real ID Act of 2005, states must comply with new federal standards for issuing drivers' licenses and identification cards by May 11, 2008. After that date, the federal government will no longer recognize identification cards from states that do not comply. For entry to federal courts, airports and other federal facilities, residents would have to carry either a valid U.S. passport or a Real ID Act-compliant driver's license.

Those new standards will require changes in state systems, applications and management of information, Input said in a news release. However, there has been little implementation to date because the Homeland Security Department has not yet published guidance.

"Once Department of Homeland Security guidance is published and adequate funding is released, Input expects vendors will begin to see traction in the contract area," James Krouse, acting director of public sector market analysis at Input, said in the news release.

However, estimates for the costs of the Real ID Act have been controversial to date and, as a result, the projected costs may go up and the timeline for implementation may be extended, Input said.

"If states continue to shoulder the majority of the costs, Input anticipates a protracted implementation that will go far beyond the current 2008 deadline," Input's news release states.

The National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures are expected to release their cost estimates for Real ID in the coming weeks, Input said.

"Barring another historic event such as 9/11, it is unlikely the federal government will be able to muster the funding or the public support to force swift implementation of Real ID," Krouse said. "But, if the anticipated adequate funding becomes available, Input projects significant contract opportunities for vendors through 2012."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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