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Government

Iowa drivers buying blackout license plates in droves

Iowa blackout licence plate. (Photo: Iowa Department of Transportation)
Iowa blackout licence plate. (Photo: Iowa Department of Transportation)
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The state’s new blackout specialty license plate has been a hit with Iowa motorists.

As of Monday, more than 1,600 blackout plates had been issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The new plate became available to Iowans on July 1.

DOT spokeswoman Andrea Henry said the new plate has caused a roughly fourfold increase in specialty plate applications this month compared with June.

In addition to the 1,600 plates already manufactured and sent to counties to be distributed to customers, another 6,400 blackout plates have been ordered. Those plates are currently being processed, manufactured or delivered, she said.

The plate, which is black with white lettering, is available as both a standard alphanumeric plate for $35 or personalized plate for $60. About 50 percent of blackout plate orders have been for personalized plates so far.

Henry said orders made in the plate’s the first three weeks of circulation have been estimated to generate more than $300,000 in revenue toward the Road Use Tax Fund, which helps fund state, county and city road and bridge projects.

By last week, the blackout plate already ranked as the fifth most popular specialty plate in Iowa.

Here are numbers as of July 21 for the other top-ordered plates in the state — the list does not include plates that require qualifications like disabled or veterans plates:

• University of Iowa: 31,118

• Iowa State University: 19,853

• Natural Resources Goldfinch: 16,715

• Cattleman Cares: 7,893

• Natural Resources Eagle: 5,858

Nearly 95 percent of Iowa’s more than 4.5 million registered vehicles have county standard plates. The new green, white and blue plates began production last year.

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Plates can be ordered online or by completing and mailing in a form to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Vehicle and Motor Carrier Services Bureau.

Plates are made at Iowa Prison Industries and shipped to the appropriate county treasurer’s office.

With such high demand, Henry said customers are asked to be patient with their orders, as plates may take 3-6 weeks to arrive.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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