Texans get say in state's new plates

February 10, 2008 10:00:00 PM PST
If Texans think their license plates are boring, they'll get a chance to do something about it starting Monday The Texas Department of Transportation is conducting a weeklong vote at www.txdot.gov that could decide whether Texans keep the current plate or choose one of four new, fancier designs.

The new plate will come out in 2009.

Whatever Texans choose, the new plates will add a seventh digit because the state is running out of six-digit combinations, said Rebecca Davio, TxDOT's director of vehicles, title and registration.

By law, the Texas Transportation Commission must approve the state's general-issue plate. TxDOT officials believe commissioners will pick the plate that Texans endorse.

"We're trying to listen to what our customers are saying," Davio said. "In case Texans really like the existing plate, they can choose that."

The agency did not release advance photos of the new designs but offered a quick peek. All feature the state's name on top and "The Lone Star State" on the bottom.

The four new choices are:

-- New Texas. This red, white and blue plate features a composite of skylines from several Texas cities at the bottom and the word "Texas" in black script at the top.

-- Traditional Texas. This plate features blue highlights and a stark, white background with a gold Texas star at the bottom and a bold, red "Texas" in capital letters at the top.

-- Lone Star Texas. A white star stands out in the top left corner along with wide brushes of red and blue against a large Texas sky. A low-lying mountain range runs along the bottom.

-- Natural Texas. The plate is covered with wildflowers. For the purposes of the vote, TxDOT named the current plate "My Texas."

The state's plate design hasn't changed much over the years. For most of the 20th century, Texas stuck with black-and-white plates, followed by blue and white in the 1970s. In 1986, they became red, white and blue.

Except for the occasional appearance of a small Texas flag in the 1990s and today's design that features a space shuttle and a cowboy, there's been little in the way of splashy graphics.

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