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Transportation official: special legislation not needed for CWI plate

Transportation official: special legislation not needed for CWI plate

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
June 24, 2010

On Tuesday, IdahoReporter.com reported that the College of Western Idaho (CWI) in Nampa is the only college in the state to not have a custom license issued by the state.  Wednesday, Jeff Stratten, spokesperson for the Idaho Transportation Department, clarified how CWI could obtain a license plate and the proceeds that would go with it.

In Tuesday's report, IdahoReporter.com said that CWI officials could obtain a plate by working with a few key legislators to push the measure through.  Stratten e-mailed IdahoReporter.com Wednesday, and said that CWI would not necessarily need legislative approval for the plate.  According to Idaho Code 49-418A, Stratten pointed out, the Idaho State Board of Education (IDSBOE) would be responsible for deciding if the school gets a plate. "The Idaho Transportation Department believes special legislation is not required for CWI to have a specialty license plate," Stratten said.

Mark Browning, communication director for IDSBOE, confirmed that fact Wednesday.  Browning said that the board would need to decide if CWI should have a plate, though he believes that board members would likely OK the idea.

Schools in Idaho benefit from having their logos available for purchase at local Department of Motor Vehicle offices.  The two state-funded schools in the state most similar to CWI, North Idaho College (NIC) in Coeur d'Alene and the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls, both receive varying amounts of funding from the program.  NIC spokesperson Stacey Hudson told IdahoReporter.com that her school received about $350 a year in the past two years from sales of NIC's custom plate, while CSI spokesman Doug Maughn reported that his school took in $575 in 2009 from its plate.  Larger schools, like Boise State University (BSU) or Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC), typically benefit a little more from plate sales.  An official with LCSC reported that in fiscal year 2009, the Lewiston school received $1,100 in total from the state.  Since the program's inception nine years ago, LCSC has taken in $7,700 in plate proceeds.  According Tania Thompson, spokesperson for the University of Idaho, her school has received $252, 608 in plate money since the program’s inception which has funded scholarships for 270 students.

The dollar amounts are generated by drivers who select the plates when they register their cars.  For a collegiate license plate in Idaho, drivers must pay $60 for the first year on the plate, and $40 each additional the custom plate is used.  Those fees accompany a driver's regular licensing and car registration costs.  Several schools, including NIC and CSI, use dollars derived from plates to fund student scholarships.  Browning said that if the board decides to let CWI have a plate, board members would decide how its share of funds would be used.

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