Alabama motorists getting new license plates soon

(Alabama Dept. of Revenue)
(Alabama Dept. of Revenue)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama’s standard license plate is switching from a coastal scene to the mountains of north Alabama.

The new tag will be available Jan. 1, state Revenue Department spokeswoman Carla Snellgrove said Tuesday.

For the last five years, Alabama’s standard tag has shown a beach scene and carried the slogan “Sweet Home Alabama,” which tied into the tourism promotion the state was using at the time.

The new tag was designed by the state Tourism Department. Spokesman Brian Jones said the new tag is designed with mountains and a lake. It is reflective of the overall scenery in north Alabama rather than copying any exact location, he said.

Alabama’s standard tag is on a five-year replacement schedule. The Tourism Department designed the coastal tag because some people from other states weren’t aware Alabama had beaches, and the tag was free advertising for the state, Jones said.

The new tag is also designed to promote a part of Alabama that may not be familiar to people in other states. “People don’t think of the Deep South having beautiful mountains and wonderful lakes for bass fishing,” Jones said.

The new tag doesn’t include a slogan like “Sweet Home Alabama” or the “Stars Fell on Alabama” slogan that was used prior to 2009.

The Revenue Department is also coming out with a new “God Bless America” tag Oct. 1. With the new design, the waving American flag is positioned differently behind the tag numbers, but it still says “God Bless America” across the bottom. The old design came out in 2006. It was supposed to be replaced in 2011, but then-Gov. Bob Riley signed a proclamation in 2009 to extend the tags for two years to save money.

Both new tags have a small heart at the bottom containing the words “Heart of Dixie,” which is required by state law.

Snellgrove said Alabama motorists have the choice of either tag for the basic price: a $23 annual registration fee, a local tag issuance fee of at least $1.25, and payment of property taxes on the vehicle.

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