Summit County solons push for new plates
March 8, 2009
Colorado motorists may soon have an option to buy license plates depicting the state’s legendary skiing as a result of a measure being pushed by Summit County’s two state legislators.
In a state that offers dozens of different specialty plates honoring Italian-Americans, horses, greyhounds, Denver firefighters, ham-radio operators and alumni of 11 colleges and universities, notably missing is the state’s most iconic industry, supporters say.
But under SB 161, sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Farmer’s Korner, and Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Summit Cove, both a skier and snowboarder would be depicted on a new plate that would be available for an extra $50.
“Skiing is not only Colorado’s best-known winter sport, it is what Colorado is known for all year round. We should encourage Coloradans to show their pride for the sport with a special license plate,” Gibbs said.
The measure gained unanimous approval Friday from the Senate Appropriations Committee and earlier cleared the Senate Transportation Committee without objection, and it now will go to the full Senate.
The Colorado Department of Revenue requires a minimum of 3,000 petition signatures in support of new specialized plates; under the efforts of trade group Colorado Ski Country USA, more than 4,500 signatures were collected.
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“Coloradans have been asking for this new way to show their pride for skiing and riding, and this legislation will give them that opportunity,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of the organization. “This bill allows skiing fans the chance to fly the Colorado skiing flag when they drive.”
Neighboring Utah on its license plates for years has boasted “the greatest snow on earth;” Idaho’s “Winter Wonderland” plate features a vintage downhiller; and Washington offers a “ski and ride” plate that claims “big mountains, real snow.” New York offers a plate honoring the National Ski Patrol and a second one supporting the state’s ski areas that asserts: “Ski it to believe it!”
Colorado had a skier depicted on its license plates in 1958, and the current specialty plate dedicated to the 10th Mountain Division features a ski trooper in the background.
The extra fee is intended to help to pay for Colorado’s roads and bridges and will generate an estimated $30,000 in the first year.