Revive Arizona's classic maroon license plates
Revive Arizona's classic maroon license plates
Why this petition matters
Arizona has had the same standard issue license plate for as long as I've been alive, and I am setting out to change that.
What I am proposing is the revival of Arizona's vintage white-on-maroon license plates with a saguaro in the center, which were standard for every vehicle in the state from 1980 through the current design's widespread introduction in 1996, as a no-cost alternative general issue plate.
This is far from unprecedented. Many states, including some of our neighbors like Utah and New Mexico, offer multiple standard issue plates for drivers to choose from; these are distinct from the extra-cost "specialty" plates which, in Arizona, cost $25 and are available for sports teams, universities, charities and more special causes. Arizona currently issues over 75 different specialty plates, and the state legislature has shown no hesitation to authorize more. A new batch of 15 designs was unveiled a few months ago, and a quick glance at the minutes for the House Transportation Committee shows the routine tabling (and passing) of bills to create new plates.
Furthermore, other states have recently moved to also issue similar "retro" plates as either general issue or specialty options, and have widely been received as successful. In January, Michigan introduced a throwback version of its 1965 "Water-Winter Wonderland" plate as its third general alternative; Montana offers five standard plate choices including updated versions of its designs from 1989, 1991, 2000 and 2006; California's '60s-style "Legacy" black plates with yellow letters have been a hit with drivers for years; the list goes on and on.
Sign this petition, tell your friends, post on social media, and contact your elected officials to tell them you're interested in reviving Arizona's classic maroon license plates!
Below is the full text of the letter that I've already sent to Sen. Victoria Steele and Reps. Kelli Butler and Jennifer Longdon, three recent sponsors of specialty license plate bills in Arizona, as well as Reps. Frank P. Carroll and Justin Wilmeth, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the House Transportation Committee:
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"Dear Rep. _______,
My name is Ethan, and I am a lifelong license plate collector, born and raised in Phoenix. Today, I am writing to you today with a proposal: the revival of Arizona’s classic white-on-maroon plates, an idea for which there is successful precedent in many other states across the country.
As I’m sure you’ll remember, these plates were standard issue for all vehicles in our great state from 1980 through 1996, until they were phased out in favor of the plate that’s still in use today. And while Arizona has authorized dozens of optional, special issue plates in the more than 25 years since then—in fact, at the time of writing, there are more than 75 to choose from on the MVD’s website—the familiar purple mountains-and-sunset design has remained as drivers’ sole general issue option.
What I am proposing, with your assistance, is to reauthorize the white-on-maroon base plate for production as a no-cost alternative standard issue license plate, or to make it available for purchase as a $25 specialty plate alongside existing plates that support the Cardinals, the University of Arizona, the Navajo Nation, and dozens of other worthy causes, groups and organizations.
So-called 'retro' plates are soaring in popularity right now, with drivers in states where they’re available snapping them up in droves.
In December 2021, the state of Michigan announced the reintroduction of a modern version of its 'Water-Winter Wonderland' license plate from 1965, which now dots the state’s roads just a few months after being made available. In California, an updated version of the yellow-on-black standard plates that were first created in 1963 have been a hit with motorists for the past few years, who have repeatedly shown their willingness to pay a significant extra cost for them. And then there’s Montana, which currently has five standard plates: one general issue—which is itself an homage to the state’s 1975 design—and four alternates, which are updated versions of Montana’s once-discontinued general issue plates from 1989, 1991, 2000, and 2006. And from Texas to Colorado to New Jersey, retro license plates have been proposed or introduced to much fanfare from residents in recent years.
I would also like to point out that it is an increasingly common practice for states to offer motorists more than one standard license plate option at no or little extra cost; nearly a dozen states including New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Georgia, Michigan, Indiana and Alaska all now give drivers at least two distinct standard issue plates to choose from. Arizona could be the next to join them with a reintroduction of our beloved, nostalgic maroon plates.
Truthfully, in my decades living in this state, this is the first time I’ve written a letter to an elected official; this is the first cause for which I have been so passionate, because I think what I’m proposing could bring so much joy—even if only a brief smile while renewing their registration fees—to the millions of people who call Arizona their home.
I appreciate your recent sponsorship of a bill proposing the creation of special ovarian cancer awareness plates, and I hope that my outlined proposal, along with the enclosed Arizona license plate from my personal collection, piques your interest and encourages you and your House colleagues to pursue this idea further.
I hope to hear from you in the near future and am standing by to assist you and the Arizona State Legislature in making 'retro' license plates a reality in our state however I can. My contact information is included below.