Saturday, October 14, 2006

Florida panther is #1 specialty license plate

Meredyth Censullo

Tampa, Florida – Last week, Governor Jeb Bush and the Cabinet OK'd four new specialty license plates, bringing the total number available to 185. There are nearly two dozen environmental ones, and three dozen collegiate plates. There are plates for professional sports teams, and a bunch labeled as “miscellaneous.”

Getting a specialty plate requires a survey showing at least a 30,000-tag demand, $60,000 for start-up costs, and legislative approval.

Plates that don’t sell get the ax. The worst-selling plate last year was for the Tampa Bay Storm. Only 33 were sold in the entire state, so that tag has been discontinued. Collegiate tags are safe from the chopping block.

Here are last year’s top sellers:

Protect the Panther – it has raised $42 million for the Florida Panther Research Trust and Florida Communities Trust Fund since 1990.

Protect Wild Dolphins, which has raised $9 million for the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute since 1998.

The University of Florida - $27 million has been raised for the school since 1987.

Sea Turtles - $7 million has been raised for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission since 1998.

Save the Manatee - $33 million has been brought in for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund since 1990.

A link to a list of plate descriptions, and the charities and organizations they benefit, is to the right of this story.

Meredyth Censullo, Traffic Pulse reporter

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