NY's Retro License Plates Are Cool But Pricey

By Michael Clancy
|  Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009  |  Updated 10:37 AM EDT
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NY's Retro License Plates Are Cool But Pricey

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It's back to the future for New York state license plates.

And since the state's future is an ever-widening budget deficit, the new plates are gonna soak New Yorkers.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will now charge New York drivers a $25 fee -- a $10 increase -- for car renewals and new registrations -- a move that will bring in an additional $129 million in revenue, but won't get very far in closing the state's $3-billion budget deficit.

The plates, which will be issued starting next April, are groovy flashbacks to the old orange and blue license plate color scheme.

The DMV's press release describes the "Empire Gold" plates thusly:  "The new plate is gold in color with dark blue letters and numbers in the central part of the plate, separated by a small dark blue state silhouette. There is a dark blue banner across the length of the top of the plate, with “New York” printed in gold in the center. “Empire State” is in dark blue letters across the bottom."

Still officials are expecting a backlash from the those who preferred the red, white and blue plates featuring Lady Liberty or the more recent baby blue, navy blue and white plates with Niagara Falls and the city skyline.

"There will be mixed feelings no matter what design is out there. You’ll get people who like it and people who don’t like it," DMV Commissioner David Swarts told the New York Post. ""I’m hoping they do, because the retro plate has a kind of jazzed up feel."

Dealing with pushback on the design is one thing, but nickel-and-dimed New Yorkers will probably have a whole lot more to say about the $25 fee.

The DMV has a list of frequently asked questions about the new plates and new fees.

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