Victory for NY drivers in the license plate debate

Joseph E. Robach

December 23, 2009

Victory for NY drivers in the license plate debate

Posted at: 12/11/2009 5:13 PM |
Updated at: 12/11/2009 6:42 PM
By: Ray Levato

It's a victory for New York drivers.

Governor Paterson is backing down on those new license plates. The governor calls it a Christmas present to the people and he says it shows he's listening. You won't have to pay $25 for those new blue and gold license plates after all.

Christine Edwards was turning in some old plates today at the Greece DMV. She told News 10NBC, “They're ugly, and I don't think we should be forced to have to buy them. These ones show all the historical parts of New York. And those ones look like we're going back in time. And my Dad has always said, you're supposed to go forward.

When we told her she won't have to buy those new plates, she said, “That's great.”

Other people at the Greece motor vehicles office had the same reaction.

Paul Lariviere of Gates said, “I think it's good with the economy and everything -- an extra $25 is good for me. You know, $25 a throw. That's hard to take. If you've got four licensed vehicles, that's an extra $100.”

The new plates are retro, with a yellow background and blue numbers. Starting in April, every New Yorker who registers a car was going to have to buy the new plates and the Governor said the fees would have raised more than $100-million for the state.

State Senator Joe Robach was among those who fought against the new license plates, along with citizens and county clerks around the state who collected thousands of names on petitions. “Whether it's fighting a tax or fee, getting a law changed or whatever it might be, this really epitomizes that democracy is not a spectator sport. You have to be in there voicing your opinion.”

Sen. Robach and some other area legislators contended that this was a tax on upstate motorists because many people in New York City don't own or drive a car.

But this doesn’t mean the new license plates won't be made. The governor's office said the state will go ahead with the new license plate design.

The new blue and gold plates will be available once the materials to make the current “Empire” design run out. However, the change is that drivers will not be required to get the new design once it becomes available.

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