LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky plans to begin offering new drivers’ licenses in Franklin County on June 28, then expanding its “pilot” program to Woodford and Hart counties before moving to the rest of the state.
The announcement by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet marks the latest schedule for the rollout of the Real ID-compliant licenses, which Congress mandated in 2005.
State officials previously had planned to make the credentials available in January, then March, then April. Now, a limited launch in Franklin County is expected to start at the end of the month.
“By including a small number of offices in a pilot phase, we can closely monitor the entire process and make any needed changes before cards roll out statewide,” Matt Henderson, Kentucky’s vehicle regulation commissioner, said in a news release.
The release says a timeline on when the cards will be available in Woodford and Hart counties will be announced “shortly” after the Franklin County rollout starts.
It doesn’t mention a schedule for the rest of the state, including Jefferson County, but says a “phased, county-by-county rollout extending to the remaining counties will begin this summer after the pilot period ends.” Summer ends on September 22.
Kentuckians will choose between two different types of driver's licenses.
A license that’s nearly identical to the current Kentucky driver’s license will be called a “voluntary travel ID.” Its holder will be able to drive, buy alcohol and other age-limited purchases, board domestic flights and enter military posts.
The other type that will be offered, a “standard driver's license,” is good for driving, age-restricted purchases and entering federal buildings for basic services. But after next October, the Transportation Security Administration won’t accept it for air travel within the U.S. Instead, a passport or other federal ID would be required.
State officials say that by offering two licenses, residents can choose the one that best suits their lifestyle. Some lawmakers and critics contend the approach may cause confusion and result in people who have no way to board an airplane in a family emergency, for instance.
The new credentials will have laser-engraved, shaded gray images instead of color photographs. They’ll also feature Kentucky symbols and icons, such as the tulip state tree, in a bid to make counterfeiting harder.
To get a travel ID, Kentuckians will need to bring documents with them that prove their identity and social security number and two proofs of residency. For example, a certified birth certificate, a current year’s tax return and a current salary statement and LG&E bill would be accepted.
This story may be updated.