After more than two decades, Rhode Island is one step closer to a new license plate design. Earlier this week, the Rhode Island Senate approved a bill that would phase out the wave design within two years. The bill calls for the state to start producing new license plates on December 1 of this year.
The bill’s sponsor, Middletown Senator Louis DiPalma, said this step should have been taken in 2008.
“I am thankful to the Senate for their overwhelming support of the plate re-issuance legislation, which is something I have been working on for over seven years,” Sen. DiPalma said. “Today, there are approximately 25,000 Rhode Island vehicles on the road which are unregistered, uninsured, and uninspected. The time to act is long overdue.”
If signed into law, the bill would increase the registration fee for a fully-reflective plate from $6 to $15, which DiPalma said is necessary to cover costs.
“As a Rhode Island resident myself and an owner of a few vehicles with RI wave plates, I too do not want to see an increase in the price. However, the current cost of $6 per set of plates goes back to 1997,” he said. “The $15 cost contemplated in the legislation is driven by the increase in material costs, specifically aluminum, as well as the approach the state has chosen to process, produce and deliver the plates to the owners via the mail.”
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While the fee increase is steep, DiPalma said the alternative plan presented in Governor Gina Raimondo’s state budget would only require residents to replace their plates “when needed” at a cost of $31.50.
Rhode Island’s “wave” plate design has been in use since 1997, when it replaced the previous sailboat design debuted in 1992.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.