Nevada DMV Makes Progress on Computer System Upgrade After Initial Failure

By [Author Name], Staff Writer | [Date] | [Time]

During a budget hearing on Wednesday, Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Director Julie Butler informed lawmakers that the agency’s effort to upgrade its internal computer system and enhance online services is proceeding well and is on track to be completed by September 2026. This comes after a previous attempt to upgrade the system in 2018 failed due to multiple issues and resulted in the termination of the contractor despite spending over $30 million on the project.

Butler acknowledged the frustration caused by the failed project and expressed confidence in the agency’s ability to successfully complete the system modernization this time around. She emphasized that strong oversight and project management have been implemented to ensure the program stays within scope, schedule, and budget.

The system upgrade, known as the DMV Transformation Effort (DTE), undergoes a thorough analysis every six weeks to assess program health and risk. Butler stated that the current risk score is relatively low for a program of this magnitude at this stage.

The need for the system upgrade was identified in 2015 when lawmakers approved a $1 “technology fee” imposed on all DMV transactions, aiming to fund the planned five-year modernization project. However, an attempt to extend the fee in 2019 was deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, leading to the agency having to refund the collected fees.

In 2018, a state audit revealed that the contractor, Tech Mahindra, was significantly behind schedule and failing to meet contractual requirements, such as inadequate staffing and missed project deadlines. As a result, the state terminated the contract and restarted the project from scratch, incurring substantial costs.

Governor Joe Lombardo’s budget proposal includes $58.7 million in appropriations to continue the computer system upgrade and allocate 29 positions to support the project.

When asked about concerns regarding the project timeline, Butler acknowledged that it is an ambitious schedule. She highlighted the critical phase of migrating large data sets from the old system to the new one and cautioned that any new legislation passed during this session could potentially cause delays. The DMV would need to carefully balance compliance with new laws while relying on the old system they are trying to move away from.

Butler emphasized the necessity of completing the project without constantly modifying the old system and explained that data migration requires freezing the old system, taking a snapshot, and populating it in the cloud. Implementing new legislation during this process could disrupt these crucial steps.

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