MNLARS deficiency funding compromise signed by Governor Walz

A compromise to provide $11.2 million to ensure IT contractors continue to develop and improve the driver’s license and vehicle services software known as MNLARS and FAST was signed into law by Governor Walz this week. An additional $2 million will provide Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) with temporary employees to increase customer service capacity. The bill also requires Governor Walz’s new Blue-Ribbon Council on IT to conduct a review of MNLARS and determine whether the project can be completed by the end of fiscal year 2021 as scheduled.

Additional investments to improve and test MNLARS will ensure Minnesotans will be able to receive the essential services they expect from Driver and Vehicle Services. The next steps will include reimbursement to deputy registrars that process driver’s licenses, tabs, and titles across the state but have lost revenue since the rollout of MNLARS due to reduced business and productivity. The House version included $10 million in reimbursement grants for deputy registrars but the Senate heard a separate bill this week with $4.6 million in additional funding.

FAST and MNLARS IT systems will require ongoing funding to continue improving the software applications, including additional DVS staff to reduce waiting times for customers into the future. Governor Walz’s proposed transportation package to raise the gas tax, tab fees, and the motor vehicle sales tax would help pay for these ongoing improvements. (SF 1092