MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state of Minnesota hired a private technology firm to oversee the critical rollout of its new REAL I-D driver’s licenses.
The move comes after serious problems and delays with the new licensing and registration computer system that has left drivers and businesses fuming since July.
Minnesota’s new motor vehicle computer system rolled out this summer, and stumbled right out of the gate. That’s why state officials aren’t taking any chances with Real ID.
There are so many unexpected glitches with Minnesota’s new motor vehicle licensing system, drivers have come to expect long waits.
“I basically put off all other plans for the day, just because I didn’t know how many hours I would be here,” one Minnesotan said at the DVS.
That’s why state officials are cutting their losses, signing a $26 million contract with the IT company Fast Enterprises to upgrade the state’s drivers license operations.
By October 2018, Minnesota must comply with federal law requiring high security driver’s licenses to board commercial airliners and enter federal offices. Fast Enterprise will now develop the Real ID software system.
Public Safety Commissioner Rona Dohman issued a written statement saying, “It is important to get this right and get it done on time.”
An irritated Gov. Mark Dayton recently conceded the state might not be up to the task.
“I want to apologize to the Minnesotans who have been inconvenienced and set back by the failures of the registration system,” he said.
Frustrated state lawmakers called the IT switch “overdue,” but said the Dayton administration wasn’t honest about the problems until it was too late.
“The short answer is, I’m mad as hell,” Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) said. “This is absolutley uncalled for. This is why people don’t trust government. And it didn’t have to be this way.”
The governor’s office and the Department of Public Safety say that despite some frustrating glitches, the new MNLARS system is functioning well overall — four months after it launched.