State asks for $43M to Fix License Plate System

January 31, 2018 06:24 PM

State officials are asking the Legislature to authorize $43 million to help repair the state's license and registration system, a software that has experienced problems since its launch in July 2017.

Representatives from Minnesota's Department of Public Safety and IT Services presented its Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) roadmap Wednesday. The timeline explains when critical defects will be fixed and what other enhancements the state plans to make to the system.


RELATED: Senate Committee Expresses Frustration at Pace of MNLARS Fixes

The fixes, identified on the roadmap as "high priority defects," include issues with vehicle registration, vehicle titles, specialty plates, payment and transactions and inventory.

Joan Redwing, with IT Services, said that since the launch, hundreds of patches have been implemented. The goal is to finish that work by July 2018.

"We have 77 high-priority fixes remaining," Redwing said. "This roadmap is a fast path and that fast path requires time, and people, and dollars to remediate as quickly as possible."

Over the next year and a half, officials also plan to make MNLARS more user-friendly and accessible for deputy registrars across the state.

"The bones of this system are good," said Dana Bailey, of Minnesota's Information Technology Services. "We just have to add a lot of meat onto it."

RELATED: Third Party Contracted to Develop Driver Services for MNLARS

The request was met with sticker shock by some lawmakers, including Rep. Paul Torkelson, who chairs the House Committee on Transportation Finance. Torkelson hosted several hearings on problems with the MNLARS system throughout the fall.

"This price tag is just unbelievable, on top of the nearly $100 million that Minnesota taxpayers have already spent to try and get this system up and running," Torkelson said in a phone interview Wednesday.

RELATED: Frustration Continues to Mount with State's New Licensing System

State officials said during a press conference they would need the funding approved by March 1 to stay on track and within a self-imposed timeline. Torkelson pointed out that's just one week after the 2018 legislative session begins.

"The timeline seems unreasonable," Torkelson said. "It's a huge surprise that they want that much money that quickly, and I don't see how we could possibly deliver."

How should lawmakers address ongoing problems with MNLARS?



Kirsten Swanson

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