REAL ID Cost Estimates

NCSL/NGA/AAMVA Cost Estimate
A study conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Governors Association (NGA), and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) determined the act could cost states more than $11 billion over five years. (Adobe PDFdownload PDF version, 60 pages: Real ID Act: National Impact Analysis)    To read portable document format (.pdf) files, you must install Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Department of Homeland Security Cost Estimate
On January 11, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the final regulations to implement the requirements of the Real ID. The release of the final regulations is a mere 120 days prior to the implementation deadline established in the Real ID Act. DHS estimates the costs for states to implement the Real ID will not exceed $3.9 billion

To read the final regulations, click here.

Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimates
In the wake of September 11, 2001, Congress considered several bills  based on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, to reform the United States intelligence community and to implement other security measures to prevent future terrorists attacks against the United States. Both bills included provisions to reform the issuance process for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards (under the adminsitration of the Secretary of Transporation).

In December 2004, the President George W. Bush signed the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458) into law, which among other things, required to Secretary of Transportation to establish a negotiated rule making process to create minimum standards for state-issued DL’s and ID’s. The Congressional Budget Office did not review the state-issued DL’s and ID’s requirements of the bill because the portions of the bill relating to state-issued DL’s and ID’s was not added to the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458) until the bill was being considered on the floor of the Senate (CBO is only required to score bills after they are reported out of the authorizing committee). 

In 2005, Congress repealed the negotiated rulemaking process established in P.L. 108-458, and adopted the “Emergency Supplemental Appropriation for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005” (H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13), which included the Real ID Act (H.R. 418). The Real ID Act created additional driver's license requirements over-and-above the requirements established under the P.L. 108-458.

The CBO score of the REAL ID Act determined that the Act would exceed the requirements under current law, i.e. those established in P.L. 108-458, and cost states an additional $100 million between 2005-2009. However, the CBO cost estimate of the REAL ID Act did not account for the costs associated with the standards established under the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458), as CBO does not account for costs associated with existing law.