New wildlife license plate would fund efforts to help decrease animal collisions
WYOMING – State lawmakers will consider a bill that would establish a specialty license plate designed to create awareness for, and potentially fund, wildlife conservation in Wyoming.
The “Wildlife Conservation” plate would cost an applicant a one-time $100 fee. Fees generated by the special tags would be distributed to a Wildlife Conservation Account within the Highway Fund, which would be created by House Bill 39.
Rep. Stan Blake, D-Green River is the bill’s main sponsor. He believes it could help fund initiatives like highway crossings, fencing, and signage and thereby reduce wildlife-vehicle conflicts, but it could also save human lives.
Rep. Mike Gierau, D-Jackson signed onto the bill along with five other House reps and two State Senators. He said he thinks the bill has merit but said it would have a tough hill to climb needing a two-thirds majority in a budget session.
“The reason why I signed on is I like the idea of a license plate to raise awareness for the issue. It won’t generate enough money to make a difference but it has a chance to highlight a demand the public has for an answer to saving our wildlife from highway collisions,” Gierau said. “Game and Fish thinks it has merit, and the people in Sublette County feel good about it. I think it has a good chance to show lawmakers something.”
Legislature staffers estimate the plates would cost about $6,500 ($2,000 for the plate design/development and $4,500 to make programming changes in the registration system) to produce, and could generate about $10,000 to $20,000 a year. The bill stipulates 1,000 plates be issued between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2023. The Wyoming Department of Transportation estimates that 200 new plates will be issued each year over this five-year period.
The specialty plates would include the current background, and bucking horse and rider, along with the letters “WC” for Wildlife Conservation. No county number designation would be made on the tags.