Governor Tim Walz says he accepts recommendations of an outside panel that the state replace the troubled MN-LARS vehicle registration and drivers license system with commercially-available software. Officials estimate total cost of MN-LARS development plus replacement software at 186 million dollars. Walz bemoans the cost: “I think any of us here, when we hear this, that it is completely unacceptable.” But the governor acknowledges it’s necessary to spend the additional money to switch to commercially-available software.
Review panel chairman Rick King indicates of particular concern was ongoing cost to implement new features. He says, “There was more risk of that number getting higher at the end with MN-LARS than there is with a packaged software solution.”
King says the course-change increases current budget cost 20 million dollars, to 73 million total. Senate Republicans aren’t saying yet whether they’ll approve it, but Hutchinson Senator Scott Newman indicates they want action on MN-LARS before the end of session. “I think that’s of paramount importance,” Newman says.