Minnesota lawmakers have returned to St. Paul for the start of the 2018 session, and District 16B State Representative Paul Torkelson said one of the biggest issues of the year will center on the future of MNLARS, Minnesota’s new licensing and registration system.

“Since its rollout in July, MNLARS has been nothing short of a nightmare for deputy registrars who can’t process applications and Minnesotans who can’t obtain vehicle titles and tabs in a timely manner,” Torkelson said, “and the problems continue to accumulate.”

Specifically, MNLARS is the new computer program that processes titles, tabs and license plates in the State of Minnesota. It was developed in order to replace the state’s antiquated licensing program. 

However, it has been overwhelmed with complications despite 10 years of planning and nearly $100 million spent to ensure its success.

Torkelson, who chairs the Minnesota House transportation finance committee, held hearings to determine when the program would be operating at full capacity and was told by the Dayton administration that the problems were fixable and were not due to a lack of financing.

Now, administration officials say another $43 million is needed from the taxpayers in order to fix MNLARS’ has ongoing problems.

Meanwhile, 200,000 applications sit in limbo, waiting for approval.

“There is literally no guarantee that another $43 million will make the problems go away. Yet lawmakers are supposed to have blind faith,” Torkelson said. “For months after the rollout, the governor’s office denied there was a problem and chose to do nothing except say that the problems were minor. To me, $43 million is not minor.”

Torkelson said he continues working with the governor’s office on a possible resolution.