Letters: MVA recommends making appointments; Trump still has business interests

Be sure to be REAL ID compliant, make appointment

We appreciate Dolly Merritt’s column on March 15 about her license renewal experience at the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) Westminster branch office. As MVA administrator, I’d like to offer some additional guidance about ensuring compliance with the federal REAL ID requirements.

The REAL ID Act, created in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, establishes security standards for state driver’s licenses and ID cards nationwide. After Oct.1, 2020, you will be required to have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card in order to use your driver’s license or ID card to board commercial aircraft for domestic flights or to gain access to federal facilities.


Getting a REAL ID requires you to present documents for secure scanning that verify proof of age and identity (such as an original U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport), proof of Social Security (W-2 form, 1099 form or a Social Security card) and two documents with your Maryland residential address (such as a vehicle registration card, utility bill or property tax bill or receipt). If you have ever changed your name, you’ll also need documents such as a marriage certificate or license, divorce decree or other forms documenting the name change.

Here’s the most important advice I can give: Make an appointment.

MDOT MVA has increased the number of customer appointments, with an additional 1,900 appointments available per week statewide. Appointments for REAL ID can be scheduled using the Online Document Guide, which also walks you through the documents you’ll need and allows you to pick a branch location, date and time. By scheduling an appointment, customers are ensured to be seen within 15 minutes of their appointment time. Our service hours have been extended to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, and we are now opening at 8 a.m. Saturdays to provide more convenience for our customers.

I encourage readers to visit our REAL ID information page at From this page, drivers can check their REAL ID status by entering their driver’s license number into the REAL ID Lookup Tool. If you think you are already in compliance with REAL ID, it is still important to complete this step to be sure. Even if you possess a new ID with a star in the upper righthand corner, you still need to have the required documents on file with MDOT MVA. The REAL ID Lookup Tool will tell you your status.

Finally, to ease any anxiety about your next renewal, there’s good news: Documents only need to be provided once. We will securely scan them, and at your next renewal you should be able to complete the process without coming into a branch office. Staff members at MVA are working to provide strong customer service and guide Maryland residents through this federal REAL ID process. We thank Ms. Merritt, and all our customers, for their patience.

Chrissy Nizer

Glen Burnie

The author is administrator of the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration.

Trump’s lifestyle hasn’t changed, businesses still his

I take objection to many of the assertions in Bruce Holstein’s opinion piece in Saturday’s Carroll County Times, “Answers from a conservative” in response to Henry Rieff’s opinion piece from March, 24, but I want to hone in on a statement Mr. Holstein made in the second paragraph of his piece. “President Trump is a patriot who gave up his businesses and his lifestyle to campaign for the presidency”

Trump handed over day-to-day control of his businesses to his sons, Don Jr. and Eric, along with a longtime Trump Organization executive named Allen Weisselberg. But Trump did not give up ownership of his businesses: They are still his, and he can withdraw money from them at any time.

As far as giving up his lifestyle, he hasn’t given up much, but the American taxpayer is footing the bill. President Trump's travels to his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., give the chief executive a chance to unwind, hang out with friends and play golf. But that presidential rest and recreation comes with a cost. A new report from the Government Accountability Office says four such trips early on in Trump's presidency cost taxpayers $13.6 million, or some $3.4 million each. That is far higher than the estimates of Trump's travel costs early in his presidency, which were pegged at about $1 million per trip.

According to the Washington Post, Trump has taken some 19 trips to Mar-a-Lago during his presidency so far. If the average cost of $3.4 million for the first four trips is extrapolated, that means the president's vacations have cost taxpayers at least $64.6 million. And that doesn't count travel to his club in Bedminster, N.J., where Trump goes in the summer.

So much for giving up his businesses and lifestyle.

Marty Hankins