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PA Residents Can Still Use Driver's License To Fly... For Now

Pennsylvanians who fly can still use their state-issued driver’s license to board a commercial flight—for the next two years.

The Department of Homeland Security this month revised its schedule for enforcing the REAL I-D Act of 2005, a security measure Congress passed on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

“At this point, there’s no impact on Pennsylvania citizens. They can continue to use a Pennsylvania driver’s license to board commercial aircraft,” said PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick.

Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that have not complied with the federal act and adopted the REAL I-D license.  In fact, in 2012 the legislature overwhelmingly approved Act 38, the REAL-ID Non-Participation Act (50-0 in the Senate; 189-5 in the House).

“Neither the governor nor the Department of Transportation or any other commonwealth agency shall participate in the REAL ID Act of 2005 or regulations promulgated thereunder,” the legislation states.

Kirkpatrick said Pennsylvania has been a “leader among the states” in securing and issuing its licenses.

“We have all kinds of security features built in to our driver’s license to ensure that they are not counterfeited and to insure that people who are using them are who they say they are.”

According to Kirkpatrick, unless lawmakers have a change of position and adopts the REAL I-D license or gets an extension to comply, starting in January 2018, Pennsylvania’s driver’s license would not be accepted to fly commercially.

“You don’t want people to be surprised," he said. "This is an effort on our part to kind of describe where the situation stands at this point.”

At the airport, Pennsylvania residents would have to show a federally approved I-D such as a passport or a driver's license from a state that is in compliance with the REAL I-D Act.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm