A New York state lawmaker wants to waive the transaction fees for people to obtain a Real ID ahead of a coming requirement for the identification cards to be used when boarding a commercial flight or entering a federal building. 

Real IDs or enhanced drivers licenses — which use a star in a black circle or an American flag in the corner — will be required for air travel starting May 3, 2023. Fees to obtain the license can cost nearly $70, the same as a driver's license renewal.

Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara wants to waive all of the transaction fees to make the change cost-free for New Yorkers. 

“New York State driver’s licenses are valid for 8 years, but the federal government’s deadline to obtain a REAL ID is right around the corner," he said. "My legislation will allow New Yorkers to make this transition at no cost by removing the additional fees people are being forced to pay to essentially replace the current driver’s license they already paid for, even if it’s unexpired."

New York was set to make the transition in October 2020 to identification that is compliant with federal rules meant to strengthen security around identification requirements. But the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the deadline by nearly three years. 

“Flying is no longer the luxury it once was. Whether it’s visiting loved ones or work related travel, with rising costs and inflation, we should all be working to help families save more of their hard-earned money,” Santabarbara said.