Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock told the state legislative Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation in Frankfort last Thursday that paperwork to meet the REAL ID requirement has been submitted to federal Homeland Security to ease the transition from current Kentucky driver’s licensing procedures to what is required under the REAL ID Act, signed into law in 2005.
“All the paperwork is in to Washington to affect the change,” said Hancock. “We are in full compliance with where we need to be.”
Without an extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Kentucky driver’s licenses may not be acceptable forms of identification under federal aviation rules as of 2016, according to recent news reports.
A Transportation Cabinet spokesperson was reported by The Courier-Journal on July 18 as saying Kentucky’s method of issuing driver’s licenses through each Circuit Court clerk’s office (there are over 140 offices) instead of one state agency is at issue.
The question about Kentucky’s compliance with REAL ID was raised in the meeting by subcommittee member Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, who asked the Cabinet’s Office of Budget and Fiscal Management Executive Director Tammy Branham if any direct appropriations from the Cabinet’s budget address driver’s licensing issues.
“I had recently seen a report that maybe our driver’s license didn’t comply as far as …in the future Kentucky’s driver’s license wouldn’t qualify under (government rules),” said Gooch.
Branham said direct appropriations to state Homeland Security office are largely for security operations related to transportation infrastructure. Other agencies receiving direct appropriations mentioned by Branham include the state Treasury, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Finance and Administration Cabinet, Energy and Environment, and Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet.
“There is a very large portion of our budget that is directly appropriated to other agencies,” Branham told the subcommittee.
Branham said the Transportation Cabinet’s direct appropriations were $96.3 million in fiscal year 2014. They are budgeted to increase to $100.3 million in fiscal year 2015 and $101 million in fiscal year 2016, she said. “That’s about an increase of just over four percent from fiscal years 14 to FY 15, and about 1.2 percent from fiscal years 15 to 16,” said Branham.
Branham also gave the subcommittee a general update on the remainder of the Cabinet’s operating budget for fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016. That’s includes funding for the Cabinet’s Office of General Administration and Support, which is supported largely by state road funds.
Road funds provided $67.7 million for general administration and support in fiscal year 2014, $71 million in fiscal year 2015, and $72 million in fiscal year 2016, said Branham, which represents “just modest growth,” she said.
Information provided by Brent Yonts
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