Illinois car owners will soon be getting new license plates, free of charge, after a manufacturer’s error caused Illinois license plates to lose their luster, if not rust through entirely, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Tuesday.
White’s office will mail out replacement plates to the owners of the oldest plates, the first time the state has replaced plates en masse since 2001. That year, the state swapped out some 9 million plates in a single year, but some were made with aluminum and others with steel. Reflective paint used for the tags did not adhere properly to the steel plates, White said, causing them to rust.
“We don’t have those funds (to replace all the plates at once),” White told reporters at a press conference at the Thompson Center. “Quite frankly, the state of Illinois is under the gun right now.”
It will cost about $5 million a year to replace the plates gradually, White said. The new plates also will feature redesigned logos: a half-portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the left, over a silhouette of the Chicago skyline that merges into an image of a windmill, and then the state capitol dome in Springfield. The motto, “Land of Lincoln,” is written across the bottom.