'Beautiful Vermont' number plates set to go on sale

Over 1,000,000 brightly coloured new number plates that have been sitting in storage for months will go on sale in late October.

The pastel themed number plates, which feature a maple tree and Morgan horses, will cost the same as a standard number plates, $8.00, state officials said yesterday.

The process from the drawing board to production has been marked by bureaucratic infighting. In 2006, officials from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) began working on the new layout; then a series of public meetings were held to get input and ideas for the final design of the number plates.

Initially, the number plates were supposed to be the new standard, replacing the green, white and grey design that's been in use since 1999. Officials backed away from that idea and suggested them as optional number plates instead.

Finally, they mothballed the plates altogether early this year, saying it would be unseemly to expect drivers to pay $8.00 for new number plates during an economic downturn.

Over 1,000,000 of the number plates have been sitting in storage ever since.

The so-called Beautiful Vermont number plates will go on sale October 29th as an alternative to the green, white and grey design.

Records show that the state paid about $3.1 million to make the number plates, so if all are sold, the state will more than recoup its investment.

Officials had planned to sell the plates as an optional replacement for $14, with $6.00 going toward a conservation fund, but that was vetoed. The higher cost might discourage people from buying the number plates.

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