Florida Downshifts on Vehicle Tag Replacement Plan
Around the State
The state has put the brakes on a plan to replace every license tag in Florida within two years.
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones said she wants to get more specifics on the plan to replace 15 million plates, including getting better cost estimates and distribution plans, by the end of the year.
She added that by January the proposal will be ready to put before Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet for approval before asking the state Legislature to fund the program in the spring.
“None of this will be done in a vacuum; it will be done with tax collectors. All I’m doing is looking for ways to maintain service and reduce costs,” Jones said Tuesday following the state Cabinet meeting in the Capitol where she withdrew the proposal.
“I thought it was time to speak in specifics and not in generalities.”
The plan was harshly questioned by county tax collectors last week for potentially increasing costs for motorists and reducing customer service by changing the business model to a private vendor that could be out of state.
Leon County Tax Collector Doris Maloy said Tuesday the tax collectors are “eager” to work with the state.
“I will continue to emphasize how important customer service is,” Maloy said.
Jones, who said the centralized distribution idea was dropped "months ago," added that business groups will also be brought in to review the proposal that has been estimated at more than $23 million.
Jones said she should have proposed better cost estimates and that if the proposed costs don't show a savings, the plan may be shelved until they can.
"All I'm doing is looking to maintain service at a reduced cost," she said.
The state also plans to ask Floridians in November to vote online regarding the proposed design change, she said.
The redesign, which would seek to make certain characters more distinguishable from one another such as the "Q" and "O" or "B" and "8," is intended for public safety and to increase collections on those running toll booths by $4.8 million.
The state estimates that 10 percent of motorists run SunPass and other toll booths without corresponding transponders.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.