By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The price of a non-driver’s identification card at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will more than double this spring, thanks to price changes signed into law last November as part of the state’s multi-billion dollar transportation funding bill. The price hike is a bitter pill for some to swallow.
“It just really creates a burden for the poor in Philadelphia,” says Adam Bruckner who runs the non-profit Philly ReStart. The group feeds the homeless and paid for nearly 5,000 PennDOT non-driver ID cards last year. At $13.50 an ID, the price wasn’t bad. But, on April 1st the price goes up to $27.50 — a $14 difference that Bruckner says will put a major strain on his organization.
“For an individual to pay an extra $14 may not be that overwhelming, but when we do that thousands of times a year- that number is going to creep up into the $30-$40,000 dollar range for us. I can’t handle that, so I have not decided what we are going to do or if we will change our process.”
PhillyReStart provides ID for homeless individuals, recovering individuals or anyone trying to make a fresh start at life. He says the IDs are critical for just about any activity, including getting a job, cashing a check or getting access to medication.
“We’re in a place where identification is very important,” says Bruckner, “so it is a little devastating to see the increase we’ll have to incur.”
PennDOT spokesperson Jan McKnight says the fee change is the result of Act 89, which pumps money into improving Pennsylvania’s aging transportation infrastructure.
“To put much, much needed improvements in place in our roads and bridges and it’s also going to provide help for SEPTA keeping that system in good shape,” says McKnight.
She says fees for driver information and vehicle information are also expected to go up from $5 to $8 in the near future. Knight says drivers license fees are also expected to increase, but drivers are saved until 2015. She says she’s not sure why the fee increase was so drastic for the non-driver IDs.
The change will make non-driver IDs in Pennsylvania the most expensive in the region. Non-driver IDs cost $20 in Delaware, $24 in New Jersey, $24 in Maryland and $10 in New York.