Posted in: Commentary,
by Gregg Laskoski on Oct 12, 2012 06:00 AM
The ways that government finds to squander taxpayer money are seemingly endless. Of course, we see that constantly in Washington but it really grinds your gears when it occurs closer to home...
Officials in Florida say they're ready to spend $31 million to redesign its license plates.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, a $31 million redesign is necessary to save costs with a simpler design that make the plates easier to read so that the state doesn't lose money trying to fine red-light runners and other motorists who try to drive through toll collection points without paying.
The state said the new license plates will be easier for cameras and police to read, as nearly one in six digital images of license plates are deemed unreadable at toll booths, the Times reports. That, combined with other issues, costs taxpayers at least $7 million annually.
For months, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has been studying the best ways to change the tag -- to save money, reduce unwanted inventory of unneeded plates and reduce the amount of scofflaws at toll booths and red-light intersections. A study by the motor vehicle agency said the current tag is hard to read and that certain characters are indistinguishable from others, such as a "B" from an "8" and a "Q" from an "O."
If approved, the new plates will be phased in during the next two years and will not come with new costs to drivers, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles officials claim.
Why do I have difficulty believing that?
Additionally, the Times reports that the new plates could mean intense new competition for PRIDE, the prison-industries company that oversees the manufacture of license plates in Florida prisons.
Highway Safety executive director Julie Jones will ask Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet to formally approve the redesign in concept at the Oct. 23 Cabinet meeting. She noted that the tag redesign does not require the approval of the state Legislature.
Within the next few months, Florida motorists will help select the new tag design in an online poll and bureaucrats will behave as if the winner has not yet already been determined.