Governor Walz to do away with MNLARS: "I'm going to clean this stuff up"

Republican lawmakers agree and will come up with money to fix MNLARS

May 02, 2019 - 8:50 am

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says the state should pull the plug on the troubled vehicle registration system known as MNLARS and replace it with commercial software used by other states.

Thursday on the Morning News with Dave Lee, Walz said that the system is unacceptable. 

"It's been a program that's been around since 2007. You think about that. This thing was started before we had iPhones. It's gone through three administrations and there's some really good hard workers and for most gear and all your listeners, you're getting your things on time.  But that's not good enough. We have technology now that gives us more security, less risk going into the future.  More adaptability," Walz told WCCO.  

Altogether, Walz acknowledges it's going to cost taxpayers about $186 million, including over $100 million the state has already spent.  Walz is seek­ing an­oth­er $20 mil­lion above his ori­gi­nal budg­et re­quest of $53 mil­lion for up­grades and fix­es to the cur­rent soft­ware. 

In MNLARS short history, Minnesotans have been charged too much or too little for their plates and tabs, repeated systemwide shutdowns and long processing delays. "People should expect to be able to get their license status by getting on their computer at home and have them in their house, you know, in a short amount of time.  Same thing with driver's licenses. And the current system just doesn't have that," said Walz.  

Republican lawmakers have beein in agreement with the governor and willing to find the extra funds. “The gov­er­nor re­al­ly led on this is­sue. He was will­ing to take a new and fresh look at it. This is bold. It bodes well for Min­ne­so­ta,” said state Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, the GOP ma­jor­i­ty lead­er.

Walz told Dave Lee Thursday that this was something he was determined to fix soon after he took office.  "As I said, first thing was I'm going to clean this stuff up. I'm going to take a hard look at it. I had independent experts come in and give me their opinion and their opinion was, we go in a different direction. I'm really grateful. Democrat and Republican legislators a say they have not seen this and they were happy to support it. And I think that's the direction we'll go."

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