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Being Real ID ready by October could cost up to $5.1 million

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Implementing Real ID in Minnesota by this fall could cost up to $5.1 million.

Lawmakers met Friday to discuss the nitty-gritty details of getting Minnesota's driver's license up to snuff with the federal standards by October.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says programming computer systems alone would cost about $2 million.

Just the price of new cards rings up to about $200,000. Other fees include employee background checks and training driver's licensing agents.

The department also looked at the costs of implementing the standards at later dates.

If Minnesota waits until July 2017 to switch over, the state can cut the cost of cards. If Minnesota waits until Jan. 2018, card and training costs can be cut, according to the report.

To see the full report, click here.

Both the House and the Senate had pushed towards rolling out approved licenses by this coming October to give people plenty of time to swap out their driver's licenses.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt told MPR meeting that deadline is a priority.

However, Gov. Mark Dayton told the news source that he's not so sure everything can be resolved and ready to go this year.

What happens if we're not Real ID compliant

Minnesotans have until Jan. 22, 2018 to comply with Real ID. After that date, people will need an alternative form of identification – like a passport – to get on a commercial airplane.

Right now, Minnesota licenses won't get you into some places, like some federal buildings, military bases or a nuclear power plant.

Recently, Gov. Mark Dayton requested an extension, asking Homeland Security to allow Minnesotans to use their IDs to get into those places until the state legislature passes Real ID.

Dayton argues that since Minnesota passed a law that gives officials the go-ahead to start planning for the new federal standards, the Department of Homeland Security should allow state IDs to be used to get into those restricted areas.

Why Real ID?

The Real ID Act went into effect in 2008 as a way to increase security post 9/11. The law requires identification cards to have a minimum set of requirements.

Due to privacy concerns, Minnesota lawmakers prohibited the state from upgrading licenses in 2009.

According to the Forum, the main difference between Real ID licenses and standard IDs is that federally compliant licenses require some extra steps to make sure applicants are who they say they are.

The licenses will also have a gold star on them to show that they are compliant.

The Forum says it's not clear yet whether or not Minnesotans will be required to get all new licenses. Wisconsin, for example, allows people to choose whether or not they want the federal license.

According to the paper, many opt out and just use a passport to get on flights.

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