Winning nearly half of the overall vote total, New Yorkers have picked a license plate depicting Niagara Falls, the Adirondack mountain range, and the New York City skyline. The plate was one of five potential designs put to New Yorkers for a replacement program mired in controversy over the last several weeks.
Overall, the winning plate design received 49.7 percent of the votes online, with various iterations of a large outline of the Statue of Liberty receiving 16 percent, a smaller Lady Liberty at 9.7 percent, and a Statue of Liberty torch at 14.9 percent. The design showing the outline of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge received 9.7 percent of the vote.
The new plates will be available in April.
State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy was in Albany Friday to file a Freedom of Information Law request seeking more information on the vote the Cuomo administration announced last month, for New Yorkers to pick the next license plate.
“I think that kind of is pretty all encompassing,” Langworthy said. “Hopefully we get something back in fairly short order, but I have no expectations in cooperation from down the hall.”
The replacement program, as initially announced, would require drivers with plates 10 years old or older to turn them in starting next April. It costs $25 to replace the plates, a fee set before Cuomo was elected. The law as written allows the administration to lower the fee itself, but Cuomo in a radio interview on Friday morning blamed lawmakers.
“The legislators who now say it shouldn’t be $25 — you hypocrite. You voted for the budget,” Cuomo said. “You were in the majority.”
In a statement, Cuomo Senior Advisor Rich Azzopardi called Langworthy a two-bit conspiracy theorist, noting a compromise to have many drivers avoid the fee for new plates has been proposed. As announced by DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder, older plates not damaged or peeling may be able to remain on the road pending an inspection.
“It’s sad the New York Republicans have gone full tilt Trump, and given its reigns to a two-bit conspiracy theorist,” Azzopardi said.
He continued, “No amount of grandstanding, hypocrisy, and cheap press hits can hide the facts, which are the cost of a replacement license plate was changed from $15 to $25 by a vote of the legislature in 2009 – before this governor took office – remained the same for the last 10 years, and that Langworthy’s fellow Republicans did nothing to change it when they held the Senate. As the DMV commissioner already said he wants to work with the legislature to come up with a cost-effective system before April that adapts to changing technology to ensure that plates can be read by both cashless tolling and law enforcement.”