Michigan - caught in mid-upgrade

Apparently Michigan has started upgrading their very old and out of date computer systems to handle drivers licenses better, but now they are stuck, not knowing how much the Real ID specs - that have not been finalized nor formalized yet - will cause them to redo their computer changes.
John Pulley wrote about this story at Fcw.com. Here's a long quote from an excellent story:
Takai, Michigan’s CIO, is in a double bind. She is in the midst of updating a 30-year-old computer system that state officials use to manage driver’s licenses. If she had the luxury of time, she would postpone the upgrade to ensure the new system’s compatibility with Real ID’s requirements. But with retirement looming for the few remaining employees who are proficient in an older technology, Takai can’t wait.

She is running two races with separate clocks and finish lines. Her strategy is to upgrade the old system and hope it will be compatible with requirements of the Real ID Act. “All we can do is guess at what we think the implementation is going to be,” she said. “If we get it wrong, we’re going to have a brand new system that we will have to go back in and change.”

Takai’s dilemma is unusually thorny, but states generally agree that implementing the Real ID Act poses big problems because of insufficient time and money. “States believe that this time frame is unreasonable, costly and potentially impossible to meet,” the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, wrote in an April letter to the Homeland Security Department.

In addition, CIOs rue the federal government’s unwillingness to seek ideas from states about how to implement the Real ID Act — an attitude that is not without precedent.


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