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Pilot program to submit license, title data electronically imminent

November 9, 2010

The Illinois secretary of state will solicit bids in the next few weeks from private firms to coordinate a pilot program in which new-car dealers would be equipped with supplies of license plates and would submit titling and registration information to the state electronically.

Ed Michalowski, director of the secretary of state's vehicle services department, told CATA directors Dec. 19 that placing the licensing and titling program on-line would expedite a system that has been aggravated by long delays in recent years.

"It's coincidental and nice," Michalowski said, "to undertake this pilot program at a time when the state's budget outlook is bleak, at best."

He said new-car dealers-but not used-car dealers-and auction houses and currency exchanges would be sought out to participate in the new program.

Michalowski said it is difficult to place a timeline on when the program would begin because of the many changes in elected leadership beginning in January. Michalowski told the CATA directors that a Secretary of State Dealer Advisory Committee will meet in Springfield Jan. 14, the first gathering of the committee since June 2001. The committee reviews the secretary of state's vehicle services department on what is working and what isn't.

Some CATA directors indicated it is difficult to get through to the office's tollfree hotline during the afternoon, and Michalowski said he would consider adding staff during peak hours. Input-related errors caused by state workers also are a concern.

Michalowski said the secretary of state staffers replated 9 million vehicle license plates in 2002, compared to about 1.5 million ina typical year. "We did about five years' work last year."