(Host) Vermont was granted authority on Wednesday to issue driver’s licenses that will be accepted as identification at border crossings.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the licenses should help to shorten the long lines Vermonters and Quebeckers have seen at the border this year.
The licenses also should help by the middle of next year, when people will need to show a passport or special State Department “pass card’’ to cross the boundary with Quebec.
Governor Jim Douglas signed an agreement with Chertoff that authorizes Vermont to issue “enhanced driver’s licenses.’’
The new driver’s license will contain passive radio frequency chips that can be scanned at border crossings to verify a person’s identity.
Chertoff says the driver’s licenses are a response to complaints from states like Vermont.
(Chertoff) We’re balancing security with convenience and the reality of what life on the border is like. And I think it’s going to be a benefit for everybody.
(Host) Douglas says federal rules will still cause problems for commerce between border communities.
That’s because Canadians will be required to show passports at the U-S border next year unless an alternative is developed.
(Chertoff) It’s important that we continue to work on a similar strategy for Canadian citizens to get enhanced driver’s licenses for their convenience.
(Host) Chertoff says the U-S government is working with the federal and provincial governments in Canada to develop similar licenses there.
AP Photo/Toby Talbot