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State seeks federal aid to secure storage of personal data



Oregon lawmakers will wait until 2016 to decide on whether to complete the final step to provide secure driver’s licenses complying with federal requirements.

It eventually may affect whether airline passengers can use their driver’s licenses as federally required identification to board commercial aircraft.

Oregon is among 24 states operating under extensions granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which says it will enforce the requirements starting sometime in 2016.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen, a Republican from Hood River who sits on the Senate transportation committee and the Legislature’s joint budget panel, said he brought up the matter with fellow legislators after a report presented last year to the Oregon Transportation Commission.

The question focuses not on licenses themselves, but on computer storage by the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division of the documents those drivers present to prove personal identity and legal presence in the United States. Both are requirements to obtain driver’s licenses in Oregon.

Such storage is required under rules implementing the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which Congress passed after terrorists used driver’s licenses as identification to board the four commercial aircraft they hijacked and rammed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, the Pentagon near Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

To pay for the added storage — and security — lawmakers not only have to raise money through higher license fees, but also change a 2009 law that bars Oregon from complying further with the Real ID Act unless there is federal aid.

The estimated price tag, according to the DMV report, is $4 million.

DMV has started a computer systems upgrade, but officials have said the current project excludes work required under the Real ID Act. A $4 surcharge on licenses is contemplated to pay for that upgrade.

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