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Published: Thursday, 3/10/2005

Senate moves to keep front license plates

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - Don't remove that license plate from the front of your car just yet.

The Ohio Senate yesterday removed a provision inserted by the House to a proposed $7 billion, two-year transportation budget that would have axed current law requiring two license plates on every vehicle, one in front and one in the rear.

"It's a useful tool for law enforcement and removal of the plate would not save the taxpayers necessarily money when they go to renew their plates each year," said Sen. Mark Mallory (D., Cincinnati).

Removal of the front license plate is opposed by the Ohio Highway Patrol. The move was expected to save the state about $2.5 million a year in plate production costs.

Rep. Timothy DeGeeter (D., Parma) said he plans to introduce separate legislation to end the front license plate requirement.

"I understand some of the safety factors cited by proponents, but front license plates are not required in more than 20 states," he said. "This is just another added cost for taxpayers."

The budget for road and bridge construction, maintenance, and highway safety now returns to the House for consideration of the Senate changes. The bill passed the Senate 31-1.

The sole negative vote belonged to Sen. Tim Grendell (R., Chesterland), who objected to the addition of a $4 fee for each student who receives driving training at a private school.

The bill earmarks $2 million in transportation projects related to economic development in several counties, including $250,000 for the Rossford Transportation Improvement District in Wood County.

"Rossford will utilize the new funding for future transportation development and for job creation in northern Wood County," said Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green).

The bill also creates a "Fish Lake Erie" license plate to raise funds for lake research projects by the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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