Privatization of New License Plates Put on Hold

The idea to privatize the distribution of license plates is dead. Florida Tax Collectors, who distribute the plates now, raised concerns about the cost and customer service. The state’s Highway Safety Director, Julie Jones, pulled the plug at a meeting on Tuesday. "Based on the recent input, the department is postponing the discussion of this topic".

Afterwards, she expressed surprise at heat the idea had generated. "I did not anticipate the level of resistance that I got".

The plan would likely have raised the cost of a tag by two and a half dollars in at least sixteen counties that don’t now add a service fee. And the Tax Collectors worried about delivery issues.

"We deal one-on-one with customers every day. We hear their concerns and their frustration about little things. Something this magnitude, we don't feel that it's been really well-thought out," said Florida Collectors Association President Doris Malloy.

A redesign of the license plate is still moving forward. Motorists will be asked to vote on-line starting in late November. Four designs have been developed by the department.

This isn’t the first vote. In the mid 1980s, drivers were asked to pick from one of these six plate designs.

And Tax Collectors will now be part of a new work group to come up with a way to cut costs while keeping current distribution system in place.

Despite Tuesday’s delay, the state is still hoping to have a newly designed license plate beginning in January 2014. It will take two years to completely replace all of the plates in Florida.

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