Lawmakers learn the cost of implementing REAL ID in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. - PennDOT has studied the cost of how much money it would take to implement REAL ID in the commonwealth.

The program will cost up to $30 million in the first year, and up to $20 million in subsequent years, according to a report presented to state lawmakers.

It is unknown whether lawmakers will allocate any funds from the state budget to the program, but the costs will be covered, at least in part, by a fee assessed to those who want a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card.

"What that fee amount is, we're not quite sure yet, because that's going to depend on what our total costs are, but that would be a one-time fee, meaning that when you renew your license, it would be the same," said Alexis Campbell of PennDOT.

The study estimates a quarter of Pennsylvanians will get a REAL ID, since it is optional. It will be the only form of Pennsylvania ID that can be used to enter a federal facility on October 11, and to board a domestic flight on January 22, 2018.

Travelers who spoke with FOX43 said Tuesday they hope the fee is not much more than a standard license, but thought it would be a worthwhile expenditure.

"Just because it gives me and every other American security, going and flying to places and stuff like that, so I think it's a good move on our part," Seth Dittmar of Gettysburg said.

"Yeah, I'll pay more if it makes it safer for everybody," added Edwin Martis of Harrisburg. "You've got a lot of people driving with no license or fake licenses around. It's better for everybody."

The plan calls for some changes to the state's drivers license centers. Up to five of the current 71 centers would be equipped to process REAL IDs immediately, while the remainder would mail the ID to customers. Additionally, up to eight new drivers license centers would open with the ability to process REAL IDs immediately.

"They're pretty much operating at max capacity right now, so to just shove 2.5 million more people in there would have a big impact on our customer service, and that's exactly what we want to avoid," Campbell said.

The state does not anticipate that REAL IDs will be available until spring 2019. It will petition the Department of Homeland Security for additional extensions.