Plan introduced to bring back retro blue Michigan license plates

Revenue from the classic plates would go to fix Michigan's crumbling roads
retro blue Michigan license plates could make a comeback
Photo credit Sen. Mallory McMorrow's office

(WWJ) Michigan's classic blue license plate could make a comeback under a new bill pending in the state Senate.

Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) has reintroduced legislation to allow the Secretary of State to readminister the iconic blue plates Michigan used from 1983 until 2007, as well as the black plates issued between 1979 and 1983.

“Any Michigander who grew up here in the 80s and 90s remembers the simple, iconic design of the license plates during those eras,” Sen. McMorrow said, in a news release. “Classic plate designs give Michiganders the ability to celebrate our unparalleled car culture while offering a creative way to generate much-needed revenue to help fix our roads without raising taxes.”

The blue and black license plates would be available to all drivers in Michigan for an added fee of $100.

That may seem like a lot simply for nostalgia, but it could be worth it to Michiganders who have been clamoring for years the state to bring the plates out of retirement.

Plus, the money spent would support a worthy cause.

Under McMorrow's plan, revenue generated from the retro plates would go toward the state’s transportation fund, and ultimately used to fix the state’s roads.

“The classic plate designs will go a long way toward instilling pride in Michigan’s reputation as the cradle of automotive development,” said Shawn Pomaville-Size, Executive Director of the MotorCities National Heritage Area. “MotorCities National Heritage Area can attest firsthand to the growth in economic development that is based on auto heritage tourism.  We are happy to support the classic license plate design knowing it will produce a positive influence on both our culture and our economy.”

Similar legislation was approved in California in 2014, offering drivers a nostalgic, 1960s-style black plate with gold lettering, which was a staple of the muscle car era. Released again in 2015, it quickly became the most popular specialty plate offered, generating millions of dollars in added revenue for the state.