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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

REAL ID Update

I want to provide an update on the situation regarding REAL IDs in Pennsylvania.  As I wrote in the October 17, 2017 edition of my News & Views, Act 3 of 2017, which was signed into law in May, repealed the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act of 2012. Act 3 creates a two-tiered system that gives Pennsylvania residents the choice of whether they want the standard-issued driver’s license and photo card or the REAL ID compliant card.  Pennsylvanians who do not obtain a REAL ID can still board a domestic flight or enter a federal building but would need to use their passport to do so.   The measure also specifies that the cost of the REAL ID compliant license must be borne solely by those who want or need it.

real idThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted Pennsylvania a series of extensions as PennDOT works to implement REAL ID.  Currently, Pennsylvania is under a REAL ID enforcement extension until October 18, 2018, which means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date. PennDOT will continue to request extensions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security until REAL ID products are available for residents. PennDOT estimates REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer's option in 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to obtain one before the final DHS effective date of October 1, 2020.

If you are interested in obtaining a REAL ID there are proactive steps you can take now to ensure you are ready. Prior to being issued a REAL ID, you will need to provide the following documents to PennDOT:

Verification of your identity
The most common documents accepted to verify your identity are a United States birth certificate or a United States passport or passport card.

Proof of Social Security number
You must present your Social Security card when applying for REAL ID.

Proof of your Pennsylvania residency
You will need to provide two documents to prove your Pennsylvania residency.  Proof of residency can include a current, unexpired PA driver’s license or photo ID card, a computer-generated utility bill showing your name and address, a W-2 form, other tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, to name a few.

Additionally, if your current legal name, date of birth, or gender designation is different from the information on your birth certificate or legal status document, you must show legal proof of the change.  Acceptable documents include:

  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • Court order approving a change of legal name or date of birth
  • Original or certified copy of an amended birth certificate showing a change of name
  • Completed DL-32 form, a request for gender change on a driver’s license or ID card

Beginning in September 2018, PennDOT's 71 Driver's License Centers will be equipped to verify these documents for customers who want a REAL ID. The best thing you can do to prepare is to gather the necessary documents now and keep them in a safe place.  All documents must be original versions or certified copies (if applicable) and no photocopies will be accepted.

FAQCustomers will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee (current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID). The expiration date of the initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license. This expiration date structure means that the customer won’t “lose” time that they’ve already paid for. After the initial REAL ID product expires, the customer will pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew a REAL ID product.

To read in more detail what documents are needed as part of obtaining a REAL ID and to view frequently asked questions, please click here or visit  If you need any assistance in obtaining the necessary documents for a REAL ID or have any questions, my staff is happy to assist you.

Did You Know…

Did you know that 27 states are currently compliant with federal REAL ID standards?


LIHEAP LIHEAP I want to again remind everyone the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is accepting applications for this season’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The program helps low income families pay their heating bills.  You can apply and check the status of your application on the state’s COMPASS website (  You can also pick up an application in my district offices or download one yourself from the DHS LIHEAP website. Completed paper applications should be returned to the Allegheny County Assistance Office, located at 5947 Penn Avenue, 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206.

Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal government and eligibility is based on the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.  The income limits for this season are as follows:

Household Size Income Limit
1 $18,090
2 $24,360
3 $30,630
4 $36,900
5 $43,170
6 $49,440
7 $55,710
8 $61,980
9 $68,250
10 $74,520

After your application is received you will receive a written notice explaining your eligibility and the amount of assistance you will receive.  Payments are generally sent directly to a utility company or fuel provider and will be credited to your heating account.  Crisis grants may also be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat.  For more information, please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.

Beechview Streetscape Project Update

BeechviewThe City’s planning department is continuing to finalize plans for Beechview’s streetscape improvements with the intent of presenting their plans to the public on Feb. 1.  The challenge has been to meet the community’s goals of improving vehicular and pedestrian safety and lighting, and creating a more inviting presence along Broadway Avenue.  In other words, enhancements to the business district that the community can be proud of, that will promote Beechview, and encourage other businesses to locate there.

I have secured the social hall at St. Pamphilus Church from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. for the City to present their plans. St. Pamphilus is located at 1000 Tropical Avenue in Beechview. The open house will provide residents the opportunity to view the plans for the proposed streetscape project.  City planners will be available to answer questions from residents and receive feedback. Myself and City Councilman Anthony Coghill will also be present to answer questions and address any concerns.

I have also scheduled a follow-up community meeting, along with Councilman Coghill and City officials, on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Beechview Community Center, located at 1555 Broadway Avenue, starting at noon, to answer additional questions and discuss any changes that the residents may want to have considered.  Please spread the word.  Feel free to contact me with any questions before the meeting by calling my office. 

Meet Your Elected Officials in Brookline

Together with State Representatives Dan Miller, Dan Deasy and Harry Readshaw, we are hosting an elected official open house this Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Brookline Teen Outreach Center, located at 520 Brookline Boulevard.  The gathering will run from 2 – 3:30 p.m. and is an opportunity to meet the elected officials who represent the 19th ward in the City of Pittsburgh at the state level along with the newly elected representatives at the city and county level.  We will be joined by new City Councilperson Anthony Coghill and new County Councilperson Bob Palmosina.

Snacks and beverages will be served.  We hope to see you there!

Oasis Tutoring Program

OASIS Oasis The OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program is hosting two training sessions for older adults interested in volunteering as tutors.  OASIS is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains older adults (50+) to tutor children (grades K-4) in Pittsburgh Public Schools in reading and writing. OASIS has tutors in over 32 schools and serves 200 students yearly.

Training sessions will be held Tuesday, Jan. 23 and Thursday, Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the OASIS office, located in the Duquesne Light Building, Suite 525 at 411 Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. All training, materials and clearances are free. 

For more information on how to become an OASIS tutor, please contact John D. Spehar, Pittsburgh OASIS Tutoring Program Director at 412-393-7648 or OASIS is an affiliate of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.

Christmas Tree Recycling Program

Christmas Tree REcyclingToday is the last day to participate in the Allegheny County Christmas Tree Recycling Program.  Residents of Allegheny County can drop off their Christmas trees through today at all nine regional parks during regular hours of operation, dawn to dusk.

All lights, decorations, tinsel and stands must be removed from trees prior to dropping them off.  The trees will be mulched and used in County parks.  The following are the drop-off locations:

Boyce Park

parking lot by the soccer fields    

Deer Lakes Park parking lot by the Veterans 2 Shelter
Harrison Hills Park parking lot at the intersection of Chipmunk & Cottontail Drive
Hartwood Acres Park parking lot at the mansion
North Park parking lot at the swimming pool
Round Hill Park parking lot at the Alfalfa Shelter
Settlers Cabin Park parking lot by the wave pool
South Park  parking lot at the wave pool
White Oak Park parking lot at the Chestnut Shelter

Fontana Fact

Christmas Tree REcyclingThe National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, report that floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, fires and freezes cost the country about $306 billion in 2017 — the most since record-keeping began 123 years ago.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol | Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza
524 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
By Appointment
Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library | Allegheny Branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
By Appointment