Minnesota, Tennessee join e-gov ranks

Minnesota and Tennessee recently inaugurated their first e-government applications with services targeted to motorists.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety launched a Web site (www.dps.state.mn.us/autolicense) where drivers can go to renew registrations for passenger vehicles.

A typical transaction will take two minutes, according to a department press release. Customers may pay by credit card or debit their checking or savings account. Credit card payments will be assessed a 1.75 percent processing fee.

The transaction goes directly to the Division of Driver and Vehicle Services in an encrypted program, which prevents disclosure of financial data to third parties. The division will mail renewal stickers within 10 days of the Internet registration.

The first day the service was in place, 490 people renewed their vehicle tags online, said Mike Ryan, the site's Webmaster.

The Department of Public Safety is the first agency in Minnesota to use an enterprisewide online payment system to enable the public to transact business with the government via the Internet. Eventually, the rest of Minnesota's 34 state agencies will be able to attach a front-end application to EzGov Inc.'s Payment Engine. Much like an electrical outlet power strip, Payment Engine allows large agencies to plug into a common platform rather than creating transactional software for each agency.

In Tennessee, residents can renew their driver's licenses by going to www.TennesseeAnytime.org, the rebranded state portal. Fees for credit card transactions will not be passed on to applicants, said Debra Luling, NIC general manager for the Web site. NIC is developing the portal and online services for the state under a five-year contract.

Other Tennessee agencies are to roll out applications in January using common software to process transactions, Luling said.

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