Drivers required to buy new license plates

An additional fee adopted in this year's state budget is inspiring a lot of road rage. Starting in April 2010, all drivers in New York will be required to buy brand new license plates at $25 a set, regardless of whether they're driving a new car or not. That's $10 more than the current price. If you want to keep your same license plate number, it will cost you another $20. "Why? Why do we need new plates?" asked Larry Hughes of Onondaga Hill.

The state claims this is for safety because the reflectivity on many of the license plates issued in 2001 has worn out. But what about states like Delaware that have had the same plates since 1970? "I think it's another way for the state to get more money," said Frazier Hunt of Skaneateles.

He's absolutely right. There are 12 million registered drivers in the state, and the State Department of Motor Vehicles estimates this will bring in $129 million. Senator John DeFrancisco tells Action News the money should come from cutting spending, saying: "This is just one of more than 100 fees that were adopted in last year's budget to satisfy the insatiable desire of New York City Democrat state leaders to spend the money of hard-working New Yorkers."

License and registration fees will also go up 25%. Starting September 1st, the price of a driver's license will increase from $50 to $62.50. Drivers at the D.M.V. say the timing couldn't be worse. "With the economy and no jobs and stuff like that, and job losses, I'm on unemployment right now to tell you the truth, I can barely afford it," said Jermaine Sterling of Syracuse.

"People are hurting now, people are just scraping to get by," Hughes said. "Why should they have to buy new plates if they don't need them?"

Drivers won't have to run out and buy new plates on April 1st. The update will take place over a two-year period as drivers renew their registrations.