By Esme Murphy

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — As the Minnesota Legislature enters its final two weeks, lawmakers are considering whether the driver’s license and registration system needs millions of more dollars in fixes.

There have been thousands of complaints about the $93 million computer upgrade. One common one: You can’t even get through on the phone to file a complaint.

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Randy Nelson of Farmington has been trying to get through to the Department of Public Safety Vehicle Services to clear up the title for this white Chevy Bolt so he can sell it.

Nelson called DVS in front of us, and the recording said this, “We are currently experiencing heavy call volumes and we are unable to connect you to an agent.”

Like thousands of other Minnesotans, Nelson can’t get through.

“What did we count yesterday, 15 to 20 calls, and we can’t get through to anybody,” Nelson said.

When we asked the Department of Public Safety about the call center, they sent us a January press release saying fixing MNLARS and the call center would cost an additional $43 million.

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In March, the Legislature did appropriate $10 million in emergency funding for a partial fix. DPS officials announced earlier this month they were using $1.3 million from the Highway User Tax Fund to hire more staffers to handle calls.

After all that, a call to that call center will likely get you that recording that says in part: “Please hang up and try your call again later.”

Republican State Senator Scott Newman chairs the State Senate Transportation Committee. He believes any additional money needs to go to a technology fix first, and then the call center.

“The functionality of MNLARS right now is that even if you are going to get through is that you are going to be told it isn’t working right,” Newman said.

Newman admitted he is not optimistic.

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The Senate Budget has $15 million more for a MNLARS fix. The House Budget has zero dollars. There are only have two and half weeks until the end of the legislative session.

Esme Murphy