A license to keep Tahoe blue — Specialized plates fund environmental projects in basin | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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A license to keep Tahoe blue — Specialized plates fund environmental projects in basin

California has a red, yellow, blue and green one. Nevada’s is blue and purple.

They’re readily spotted in places like the Bay Area, Sacramento and Palm Springs. However, they are seen less frequently in Tahoe.

What are they?



Specialized Tahoe license plates that, regardless of state budget deficits, pump a steady supply of cash to environmental projects for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In Nevada, Tahoe plates raise about $400,000 a year. In California, the program brings in about $750,000.




“It’s seems to be steady or growing,” said Ryan Davis, an attorney at California Tahoe Conservancy, a state environmental group which puts the collected money to use. “We’re averaging about 300 to 500 new license plates a month.”

In California, the money is funding projects such as a bike trail just finished in South Lake Tahoe on 15th Street and a lakeside trail under construction at Tahoe City.

State Lands hands out the money collected in Nevada. It partially funds projects like the parking lot and front gate installed at Spooner Lake.

The Golden State started its plate program in 1997, a year earlier than Nevada. Since then, California Department of Motor Vehicles has sold nearly 31,000 of the plates bringing almost $3.5 million to the basin.

Nevada has seen a steady rise in revenue for its plate program. In 1998, the Silver State collected $108,000. That number rose to $398,000 in 2001 and is close to breaking the $400,000 mark for 2002.

In Nevada, the initial cost of the plate is $61 with a $30 fee to renew it each year. In California, the plate costs $50 and $40 to renew. The prices are in addition to state registration fees.

A new Web site, http://www.ecoplates.com, allows purchase of the license plate for California. The plates can also be purchased at the DMV at South Lake Tahoe and Truckee.

At other DMVs in the state the plate has to be ordered. In South Lake Tahoe and Truckee, a pilot program provides a Tahoe license plate at the time a vehicle is registered, Davis said.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com


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