New York State license plates are getting a makeover, and this time, the state is leaving it up to residents to vote for their favorite design.
The design with the most votes will become the state’s official license plate, becoming available to motorists in April 2020. These will replace the Empire Blue & White plates, the majority of which are more than a decade old.
There are five designs to choose from, and New York State residents can cast their votes until Monday, Sept. 2 at 11:50 p.m. (Check the five images above to review the designs.)
"License plates are a symbol of who we are as a state and New Yorkers should have a voice and a vote in its final design," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "As the life span of the old plates comes to an end and we develop new ones that are as easy to read as possible, I encourage all residents to take part in choosing this piece of our state's history."
Once the winning plate design becomes available, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will stop issuing the Empire Gold and fully transition to the new design.
The fact that a $25 license plate replacement fee will be added to the cost of the vehicle owner's registration renewal has drawn a backlash, with many calling it an unnecessary taxpayer burden and a cash grab. For more, click here.
The plate designs include signature themes of New York like the Statue of Liberty and the New NY Bridge (more commonly known as the new Tappan Zee Bridge, of course), as well as natural landscapes, trees and waterfalls for which the Empire State is best known.
"The time has come for New York to have a new license plate, which is why we worked hard to create design options that not only capture the heart of the Empire State but also that our customers will be proud to put on their vehicles," said Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J. F. Schroeder. "I hope everyone across the state will take a few minutes to view the options and vote for their top pick."
Ultimately, the new plates are part of Cuomo’s efforts to “modernize New York’s expansive transportation system." Replacing older plates helps to eliminate legibility problems that hinder License Plate Readers from correctly identifying the registered vehicle owner when used by law enforcement, red light cameras and cashless tolling systems.
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