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The lion on the plate


Peter Salter Lincoln Journal Star - April 11, 2018

OMAHA, NB – When it comes to license plates, drivers are as finicky as buyers at New York City Fashion Week.  So imagine the surprise over the wild popularity of the most recent specialty plate to be offered in Nebraska – the mountain lion.

The Department of Motor Vehicles had filed a fiscal note — a dollars-and-cents estimate of the plates — predicting it would sell 2,500 plates the first year.

They could have added another zero. Since October 1, 2016, when the plates were introduced, the state has sold nearly 25,000.

With an additional cost of just $5 — money that goes straight to the Game and Parks Commission’s educational efforts — the mountain lion quickly became the state’s most popular specialty plate.

About 20 percent of the mountain lion plates are also message plates, meaning nearly 5,000 car owners paid the extra $40.

At the end of 2017, most of the lion plates  were purchased from the state’s three largest counties.  But they have  also spread to their natural, rural habitat, with the plates landing in 91 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

While none have made it to Grant and Arthur counties, the treasurer there said her neighbors aren’t interested in mountain lions.  She observed that if people were going to spend the money in those parts, (and most don’t) they would buy the beef license plate.

Overall though, the money started adding up for the Game and Parks Commission’s education fund, $5 for each set of regular plates, and $40 from each set of message plates.

The most recent total? More than $265,000.



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