New RI license plate will ‘closely mirror’ current wave design


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Ocean State’s “wave” plate is here to stay – though it will be changing slightly.

The General Assembly passed legislation in June for a new design that all current wave-plate holders must transition to whenever their current plates expire.

Josh Block, a spokesperson for Gov. Gina Raimondo, said the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is hoping to “minimize the inconvenience for Rhode Islanders while ensuring the plates meet all public safety standards.”

In a letter to the House and Senate Finance Communities, DMV Administrator Walter Craddock wrote the company producing the new license plates, 3M, recently provided them with concepts of the new design.

The new design has not been made public yet, but Craddock said it will “maintain the integrity of the current wave design with enough differing characteristics to accomplish the purposes of the license plate reissuance.”

Raimondo had previously expressed concerns about a new license plate design, but lawmakers still included funding for it in this year’s budget.

“The new design will closely mirror the existing plates, maintaining the wave image that has become an iconic symbol of the Ocean State,” Block said.

The cost to switch license plates will cost drivers $8 a set, which is $2 more than the designated price decided upon more than 20 years ago. Initially, proposed legislation hiked the price for a plate switch from $6 to $15.

According to Craddock, 3M will be in charge of producing, stocking, remaking and recreating vanity license plates for the DMV until the Department of Corrections “obtains the necessary equipment” to continue the process.

Sen. Lou DiPalma pushed for a new plate design and believes slightly altering the wave design won’t ensure everyone is following the law.

“Every ten years, the DMV needs to issue a new plate. That’s Rhode Island state law. We haven’t done it for 23 years,” DiPalma, D-Middletown, said. “Just tweaking the wave plate doesn’t achieve the goal of why we need to do this.”

DiPalma said he hopes to meet with Raimondo to address the issue and come to a resolution. He hopes the new design can showcase a local artist or show off a Rhode Island landmark.

The transition over to the new plate design should take two years to complete.

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