One of the requirements of the REAL ID Act which elevates security standards for drivers licenses in states and territories is to fortify the Office of Motor Vehicles in Tafuna.
At present the Department of Public Works is renovating the building where drivers licenses are prepared and stored.
Commissioner of Public Safety Save Liuato Tuitele says they initially thought the renovation was going to be completed within three weeks.
However, DPW’s latest assessment is that more time is needed because of necessary demolition work
Save says most of the tasks required to meet Real ID Act requirements are awaiting completion of the renovation work and upgrading the system used to produce drivers’ licenses according to the standards set by federal law
This past summer, Director of Marine and Wildlife Resources, Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga was denied entry into a federal building in Honolulu when she produced as an ID, her American Samoa issued driver’s license.
A report prepared by the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security showed that REAL ID related expenditures totaled $1.9 million but local drivers licenses are not compliant with the federal law and are therefore not accepted as proof of identification in federal buildings and military basses.
A mainland contractor, Wei, Inc. of Connecticut, was awarded a contract of $181,5000 July 1, 2009, but by December 3, last year, the contract had undergone 5 change orders and the total amount expended was $1.9 million.
Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Esther Kia’aina, last month wrote to Governor Lolo Moliga urging that he look into bringing American Samoa in compliance with the REAL ID Act as there would be ramifications for people from the territory if this is not addressed.
The administrator of the federal grant at the Department of Public Safety was Fred Scanlan who has resigned to take up a church position.