Two custom specialty plates issued by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) were canceled last month after failing to meet the department's threshold for required sales in the first five years of existence. ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten told IdahoReporter.com that the plate celebrating the historic nature of Lewiston in north Idaho and the school transportation safety plate each failed to achieve 1,000 sales since their creation in 2005.
This isn't the first time in recent history that the department has removed a specialty plate from its offerings. In 2009, ITD canceled a plate for the Boy Scouts of America, as well as a motorcycle safety plate. The department reviews sales for plates on annual basis and determines which plates must be discontinued.
Two organizations will now lose out on money previously brought in by the plates. Each plate includes a $35 fee for the first year a driver chooses that custom plate, an amount added to all other vehicle registration costs. Each year a driver chooses to renew the custom plate is an additional $25. The ITD highway fund receives $12 a year from the cost of custom plates. The rest of the money went to the Lewiston historic preservation commission and a pupil transportation support fund created by the state.
Rep. Liz Chavez, a Democrat representing Lewiston in the Idaho House, said that the Lewiston plate did its job for a while, but has become a victim of a loss of interest by citizens and possibly a poor economy. "In the grand scheme of things, I don't think buying a custom license plate has been high on peoples' priority lists," Chavez told IdahoReporter.com. "It did some good in that it sparked interest in restoring the capitol up here. People are looking at properties in historic downtown and looking at reconstructing some of those buildings. I think it served a purpose."
ITD is currently developing two new plates, one to celebrate mountain biking and another to recognize the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness Area in north Idaho. Some legislators, including Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, are looking at creating a plate for the College of Western Idaho (CWI) in Nampa in the next legislative session. CWI is the only college in the state - public or private - that doesn't have a specialty plate.
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