A number of constituents have asked about the rocky rollout of the state’s new Minnesota License and Registration System (MNLARS) for processing vehicle title and registration transactions.
Yes, implementation of the new MNLARS system has turned into a mess. The system continues to struggle with the processing of vehicle title transactions, causing problems for our citizens, car dealerships and local license centers across Minnesota.
Yes, the Legislature is holding people accountable by demanding answers. To date, several workers have resigned. However, I am not aware of the governor terminating employment of specific individuals with responsibility in this area.
While the governor has apologized for the harm this problem is causing, the pressure to fix this mess is coming from the state Legislature. Legislators met with officials from the Minnesota IT and the Minnesota Department of Public Services Agency again this week to sort through the rubble.
What was found is agencies that have been working on this project for almost 10 years, have spent $93 million in taxpayer dollars, and now want another $43 million to fix the “new” system. Even with more funding, they are not sure when the system will be functioning properly.
I believe the root problem is a lack of focus on the core mission of our state agencies that handle the IT function. Their job should be to operate and maintain the computer software systems across Minnesota government. That is not an easy job and requires their full attention. They should not be trying to design and build new software systems. That task is best done by the private sector.
Delta, United, and American Airlines operate tens of thousands of aircraft daily. However, they rely on Boeing and Air Bus to design and build those airplanes. That model works. The private sector is good at designing and building things, including new buildings, new machines and new software systems.
Once built and properly tested, then operation and general maintenance can be turned over to our state agencies. We are pushing the executive branch to adopt this approach. The long-term solution is not asking for more money to hire more state employees in this area.
I continue to press to solve this problem and make the fundamental changes necessary to prevent this from happening again.