Minnesota needs a quick fix for CDL program

| 12/28/2007

Unless it can quickly improve its system for issuing CDLs, the state of Minnesota could miss out on $20 million in federal highway funds next year.

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration audit of the state’s commercial driver’s license program found that the system fails to screen for drunken driving convictions, criminal offenses, potential terrorists and people posing as someone else.

The audit also found the state lags behind in being able to share its data electronically with federal authorities and other states. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, implemented with a final rule in 2003, requires all CDL programs in the U.S. to be compliant or risk losing federal funding.

“The FMCSA has determined that all states that have not passed the MCSIA structured test are in substantial noncompliance for failure to comply with the requirements. ... Minnesota is therefore at risk of losing up to 5 percent of the federal-aid highway funds on October 1, 2008, unless it meets all of the MCSIA requirements,” FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill wrote in a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

State officials admit the CDL program is outdated and have told local media that they are working to correct the problems.