Passport, ATV applications on the rise

Aug. 29—During a meeting with area farmers earlier this month in Clarke County, U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn made comments about how his staff has struggled with communication from State Department officials about the growing delays with passport applications.

Despite the slow processing work, Union County has seen a recent increase in passport applications.

Nunn said then he has been told by others some passport applications are taking up to six months. According to the State Department in late March, applications were expected to be complete in 10 to 13 weeks. The department hopes to return to pre-pandemic times by the end of the year.

In July, the State Department forecast receiving 2 million more applications than it did in 2017, its record year.

Union County Recorder Katie Carlton told the Union County Board of Supervisors Monday she encourages those interested in applying for a passport to do so with plenty of time before their scheduled trip. There have been reports across the country of people having to either reschedule their trip or cancel it all because of not having the passport.

Carlton didn't rule out college students of applying for one now if they are already considering a spring break trip in March.


Staying with the travel theme, Carlton also told the board about the increase in the number of ATV registrations. Iowa revised its ATV rules allowing more use of them in more public roads. They had been commonly known for farmers to use to get from field to field.

Carlton said it doesn't matter how new or how old the ATV is, it must be registered if used for the new rules.

"Just because you've had it for 10 years, you are not exempt from the paperwork," she said.

Those who use ATVs in public areas can have a maximum speed limit of 35 mph, must be 18 years or older and poses a valid driver's license and carry valid proof of insurance. The vehicle must have valid DNR registration.

A registered vehicle may only operate on a state highway that is not a divided highway (4 lanes) or interstate. They can only be driven on a state two-lane highway over the most direct and accessible route to and from an all-terrain vehicle park or trail, to the nearest county secondary road, or an authorized city street or owner's residence.

Drivers may cross a state divided four-lane highway at an intersection from an authorized road as long as it is not an interstate.

Any ATV or off-road motorcycle operated on ice, designated trails or an OHV park must have a valid registration decal displayed on the machine. On an ATV this decal must be placed so it is clearly visible on the rear of the machine. Registration is not required for ATVs being used only for agricultural purposes.