(INDIANAPOLIS) - The state's new standard license plate will promote Indiana's bicentennial in 2016.
Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and former congressman Lee Hamilton - co-chairs of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission - unveiled the new design Thursday. It will be one of two standard plate options for Indiana vehicle owners for the next five years. The other is the existing In God We Trust plate.
Skillman said 2 million Hoosiers currently opt for the plate the new one will be replacing. That means there will be "2 million mini billboards traveling around the state and promoting the bicentennial," she said.
The new bicentennial plate has a white background,with a blue Indiana shape and a circle of 19 stars, which represent Indiana's status as the 19th state admitted to the union. The number "200" is written in white across the state. The plate reads "Bicentennial 1816-2016" across the bottom.
It will be available to drivers beginning Dec. 27 and is available at no extra charge to vehicle owners.
The new design will replace a plate that has a blue background and features a torch.
"We can't celebrate our statehood without the help of Hoosiers and we hope this will draw chatter and enthusiasm around the state," Hamilton said in a statement about the plate.
The bicentennial commission - which is planning programs and activities for the state's 200th birthday - evaluated several plate designs before choosing the new one. Officials at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles also ensured the new design meets state standards.
Currently, about 6.7 million vehicles have Indiana license plates. Roughly 2 million of those are the standard Indiana-themed plate; 2 million are the In God We Trust plate, and the remaining are specialty plates, most affiliated with a state or nonprofit organization.
Lesley Weidenbener is the managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.
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