ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — State officials took some tough questions at the State Capitol on Wednesday regarding the state’s new vehicle licensing system, called MNLARS.
The program launched in July and cost the state nearly $90 million. Since the launch, some drivers have complained about delays in receiving titles and plates.
Deputy registrar offices and auto dealers have also complained about glitches and general problems with the new system.
The Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee heard from various stakeholders at a public hearing on Wednesday.
From Bloomington to Brainerd, deputy registrars told stories of difficulties processing customer’s requests.
“I’ve had to employees quit or walk out in the middle of the day just bawling and frustrated,” a deputy registrar from Brainerd said.
The President of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, Scott Lambert, said frustration with MNLARS is growing with every passing day.
“Our confidence in that system has eroded down to really nothing,” Lambert said “It’s not a bad launch, it’s a bad program.”
Lawmakers asked the state’s Chief Information Officer, Thomas Baden, when the program will be fixed. Baden said three areas need improvements: Performance, defects and functionality.
While he did not say when exactly all the problems will be fixed, he is confident the next month will bring some serious improvements.
Governor Mark Dayton, who has accused Republicans of politicizing problems with MNLARS, offered an apology on Wednesday to Minnesotans who have been inconvenienced by the system.
Dayton said while improvements are needed, MNLARS has been able to serve most Minnesotans without problems since the launch in July.
The state legislature is considering an audit to look at how much problems with MNLARS have cost private citizens and businesses.