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Fear not, Rio Grande-Candelaria roundabout is on the way

WHERE’S THAT ROUNDABOUT? Sam called recently to ask “when they will begin the roundabout at Rio Grande and Candelaria? They told us it would be completed before the end of 2018, but they haven’t done anything.”

Diane Dolan, policy analyst for City Councilor Isaac Benton, whose district is home to the planned traffic calmer, says “the city completed purchases of right-of-way last fall, and the design is 90 percent complete. Our understanding is that the funding agreement with the state (was to be) executed (in March). There are a couple of additional certifications required along with final approval of the design/construction documents. We are hopeful that construction will proceed later this year.”

WHY ISN’T MY MEDICARE CARD GOOD ENOUGH? Richard P. Jacobs says when it comes to the documents required to prove your identity number for a Real ID driver’s license – Social Security card, W-2, 1099 or pay stub with the full Social Security number – “many senior citizens have either lost or misplaced their Social Security cards. Having seen the endless lines that stretch out of the Social Security Administration buildings, I am wondering why the Motor Vehicle Division does not accept Medicare cards in lieu of Social Security cards? The Medicare cards contain the senior’s Social Security number. Doing so would make things a lot easier for our seniors.”

It would. But Medicare cards are not on the list of acceptable Real ID documents approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and codified in state statute 66-5-9, which officials have explained tried to streamline the list by going back for the most part to the original document that established your identity number (Social Security card) and your identity (your birth certificate or passport).

However, you can use the 1099 you get from Social Security or other entities each year in lieu of the card. And your Medicare or any other proof of insurance card is acceptable proof of identity for a Driver Authorization Card (DAC), which allows you to drive but not board a commercial flight after October 2020.

Meanwhile, readers have reported quick turnarounds by the Social Security Administration when it comes to getting replacement cards.

ORGAN DONATIONS EASY WITH LICENSE RENEWALS: According to John Monforte, acting Cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, “at any given time, over 750 New Mexicans are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant that may never come.”

But MVD, which is under Tax & Rev, is doing its part to help the cause. Last year, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division signed up 46,721 new organ donors, according to a news release.

As April, officially Donate Life month, wraps up, it’s important to note MVD has encouraged organ donation since 1978. Acting MVD Director Alicia Ortiz says “registering to become an organ donor is easier than ever. When you come into an MVD office to get your driver’s license, a clerk will talk to you about your option to register as an organ donor, and you will see the option on your application form – all you have to do is check a box.”

And that simple act can mean the difference between life and death, as well as an improved quality of life, for many. According to New Mexico Donor Services, “one donor can save eight lives through organ donation and restore more than 75 lives through eye and tissue donation. You can help save lives by registering to be a donor at the MVD, in the iPhone Health app or at RegisterMe.org.”

For more information, check out donatelifenm.org.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M., 87103.

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