Given planning, cost, system is total failure

It’s hard to fathom that the state of Minnesota is having such a tough time rolling out its new computerized system for the state’s licensing system. The new Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS), which replaces the one licensing bureaus have been using the past 30 years, has been eight years in the planning at a cost of $90 million.

When it rolled out in July, officials expected there to be a few glitches. But eight weeks into the new system, the problems continue to handcuff and frustrate the license bureau workers who are supposed to be making it work, not to mention the many motorists trying to get their vehicle registrations updated, or get license plates and permits for new vehicles.

The problems were the subject of a legislative committee hearing. Officials, car dealers and motorists complained about the long lines, delays and mistakes they had been experiencing. Some are getting billed far more for their registrations, some far less. Some are unable to get plates for their new vehicles for weeks.

The deputy registrars who work out of county offices depend on the license and registration fees coming through their offices for their support. If they can’t take care of the customers, they lose business. If they can’t process as many applications as before, they lose business.

The state is struggling to get the problems fixed, and apparently has made progress, but a system this long in the planning and this expensive should not be having these kinds of problems.

Whoever was supposed to be in charge of making this work has a lot of explaining to do.