New plan to keep fixing DMV computers: Use Real ID driver’s license funds

Minnesota officials have come up with a plan to continue trying to fix and upgrade the state’s beleaguered computer system for vehicle license plates and tabs.

They’re hoping to tap into funds slated for enhancements to a new computer system for Real ID driver’s licenses, which are being rolled out next month.

The likely solution floated this week to state lawmakers aims to keep improving MNLARS — the now-$100-million-plus computer system that was rolled out more than a year ago and has never worked as it was supposed to — through February by diverting $5.5 million from the Real ID track.

After February, work on MNLARS would essentially cease without new funding from the next Legislature and governor. A more-secure funding plan failed at the Capitol earlier this year. It became roadkill when it was included in a wide-ranging spending bill that Republican lawmakers passed and Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, vetoed for unrelated reasons. Each side blamed the other.