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N.M’s New License Plate Commemorates 100 Years of Statehood

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New centennial plate with turquoise background replaces the balloon plate


New Mexico has a new license plate.

The plate, which was unveiled Tuesday in Santa Fe by Gov. Bill Richardson, commemorates 100 years of New Mexico’s statehood. The centennial plate replaces what has become known was the balloon plate, which was first introduced in 1999.

“I am honored to unveil the new official state license plate, one that commemorates our historic centennial and distinctively represents New Mexico,” Richardson said.

The new plate incorporates a “retro” design based on license plates of the past, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office. Against a turquoise background, a nod to the state gemstone, it follows law and custom by including the red and yellow colors that the Spanish brought to the New World, and the symbol of the state flag, the Zia.

The news release said that after commemoration activities end in 2012, the phrase “Centennial 1912-2012,” will be replaced and the turquoise plate will continue to serve as the official state plate.

Richardson also said Tuesday that he is asking for public input on whether the state should keep the classic yellow license plate that has existed in various forms since 1980 and that many New Mexicans have a nostalgic attachment to. He wants the public to weigh in on whether the state should have only the new turquoise plate or whether drivers should be given the option to choose between the turquoise plate and the yellow plate.

The state has set up an online survey that will be in place through Sept. 11. To go to the survey and select which option you prefer, click here.