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N4T Investigators: Anger over fee

TUCSON – The News 4 Tucson Investigators have received many complaints about the $25 fee the state is charging for the new Travel I.D. cards.

Rusty Anderson said, “I think it’s ridiculous. It’s just another way for them to get more money out of you.”

Diana Ramos: “I will say it’s pointless. Like, if you already have your driver’s license you should just travel with that.”

Gus Torres: “I am really upset that the state of Arizona is charging us 25 dollars for a travel ID.”

Those local residents say it’s just another unnecessary fee the government is imposing on taxpayers. The Travel I.D. cards will be required for all air travel within the U.S. starting Oct. 1, 2020. It will look like a driver’s license, with a gold star added in the upper right corner. If you don’t have one you won’t be allowed on a commercial flight even in case of an emergency, unless you have a passport or military I.D.

Forty-six-year-old Gus Torres has an engineering degree from the U of A, but no job. “I think you have to think about all residents, Torres told us. “I mean, there are people that can be unemployed, like in my case right now, and I’m struggling, and to me, those are additional fees that I don’t have the money or the resources to pay to the state of Arizona. And it’s upsetting.”

Doug Nick, a spokesperson with Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division, told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “This is a standard operating procedure, that a service being provided by the state of this nature would include a fee.”

Nick said the fee was approved by Governor Ducey’s Regulatory Review Council.

We asked Nick, “What do you say to people who are angry about having to pay this extra 25 dollars?” “It’s in the statute,” he said. “We determine the fee. It was determined to be 25 dollars, which is actually less expensive than many states.”

That’s true. Other states, which call it the “Real I.D.” are charging more than Arizona. California residents are being charged $35; Nevada, $32.50, Connecticut, a whopping $72. But it’s only $18 in New Mexico and $11.50 in Colorado.

Torres said, “What they could really do, you can bring your documents like your birth certificate, your Social Security card and once you comply, they can just put a stamp on your I.D. and print it for five,10 dollars. Why charge all over again? That makes no sense.”

So we asked Nick, “Why can’t Motor Vehicles simply put a stamp on a current driver’s license after the person brings the documents to travel?” He said, “Frankly it just makes it easier and heightens security because using just a stamp is not a great way to heighten the security, which is the whole point of the travel ID is to ensure that it meets the federal mandate.”

The law requires residents to present more documents than were previously required and it makes the rules consistent nationwide.

The Arizona Travel I.D. is good for eight years. For more information, including the documents you’ll need to get a Travel I.D. click here:

If you have a story you’d like us to investigate, email us at or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

Matthew Schwartz

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