Minnesota could run out of funds to fix DMV system

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, July 1, 2018

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s beleaguered computer system for vehicle titles and tabs may not be fixed before the agencies responsible for it run out of money, according to state information technology officials.

The officials have told state lawmakers that work to fix glitches in the system known as MNLARS will halt in February, if not sooner, the Pioneer Press reported. The team that’s been working on it could also be dismantled.

“Even if every fault and gap in MNLARS is fixed tomorrow, it won’t change the fact that it’s still not a user-friendly system,” said Donny Vosen, a deputy registrar who operates a license center in Brainerd.

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Much of the tens of millions in funding needed to fix the system was included in a bill lawmakers approved in the spring, but it was vetoed by Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton.

The earliest funding could come in the winter when a new Legislature and governor convene. Funding approved would then be distributed in July 2019.

Technology officials said that in the meantime state workers and contractors are working to fix highest-priority issues, such as problems with transferring specialized license plates. People who want or need such plates have to get new plates, which could mean paying more.

Dana Bailey is the executive director of projects and initiatives for Minnesota’s information technology department. She said she doesn’t know when the process will be changed or if it can be done before funds run out.

Another issue is fixing identification mistakes. License center workers can’t fix mistakes they catch while double-checking their work. They instead can call a state worker at the Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services Division for help correcting the error immediately, but a call can include hold times of about a half hour.