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In Alaska, rural living complicates access to Real ID

FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, file photo, a man picks up a package at the post office in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Motor vehicle offices across the U.S. have experienced high demand as an Oct. 1 deadline approaches for Real IDs, special licenses many will need to board domestic flights and enter military bases and some federal buildings, but in remote parts of the country, like rural Alaska, those ID cards may be harder to get. People in Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska's western coast, rely on small planes to travel off the island. The near DMV office is 115 miles away in Bethel. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – In rural Alaska, the closest state motor vehicle office is often a pricey plane ride away. And that is complicating efforts by residents to get new federal identification cards for commercial air travel starting this fall. The state official whose department oversees the Division of Motor Vehicles has downplayed the need for the new Real ID cards, citing alternatives requiring less stringent documentation, such as passports or military or tribal IDs. But just months before the Oct. 1 deadline, frustrated rural and Native leaders say the state has a responsibility to provide equal access to services.

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