Idaho marked its territorial sesquicentennial — or the 150th anniversary of becoming a territory — in 2013. The state issued special license plates to commemorate the big date. Now, because not enough people are buying the plates, the state is considering discontinuing them.
Sales of the plates must reach 1,000 or more by Dec. 1, 2016 or they’ll be discontinued. The state has issued 335 territorial sesquicentennial plates so far, said Brad Hunt, technical records specialist with the Idaho Transportation Department.
Lovers of history say that the plates represent more than a sentimental gesture. They also mean money for local organizations. Registered vehicle owners can buy the plates for $35 (with an additional $25 each year for annual registration). Twenty-two dollars of the first registration fee and $12 of each subsequent renewal goes to county historical societies or other approved groups. The money, according to Idaho law, will be used to fund projects related to the sesquicentennial or “other projects that protect and preserve the heritage and cultural resources of the county.”
Idaho has26 specialized plates available, plus addition ones for veterans and amateur radio operators. Among the most popular are wildlife plates, specifically elk, mountain bluebird and cutthroat trout plates, said Hunt. Snowmobile, skier and the Capitol Commission plates are also popular.
It’s not uncommon for plates to come and go. The Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church/River of No Return plate just avoided being discontinued. The Idaho Aviation Foundation plate is also threatened with discontinuation. A freemason plate, as well as an earth science/lapidary plate have been discontinued.
Find a list and see examples of available plates and get information about buying one on the Idaho Transportation Department’s website.