'My Texas,' the state's current general-issue license plate design.

Should the license plates on Texas vehicles sport a blooming field of the state's beloved bluebonnets or a vista of the endless West Texas skies? Or maybe a skyline of Texas' dynamic cities?

And what about the current plate, does the silhouetted cowboy, the oil derricks and the space shuttle perfectly represent the diversity of the Lone Star State?

Or should we just forget the graphics altogether and go with a simple and traditional style?

Well, Texas residents can help make that decision.

For the first time in the Lone Star state's history, Texans can vote online for a new general-issue license plate.

From noon Monday, Feb. 4, until noon the following Monday, Feb. 11, Texans can vote for one of four new license plate designs or to keep the current general-issue plate.

To vote, go to the Texas Department of Transportation Website, at http://www.dot.state.tx.us.

Over the last 30 years, designs for the state's general issue plate have ranged from a plain, white background to the flying Lone Star Flag.

In January of 2009, production of the next plate will begin. Texans will have the opportunity to vote for one of four new designs or to keep the current plate.

All of the plates feature the state name on the top and "The Lone Star State" on the bottom. They are divided into four categories, a representation of how Texans see the state. The designs can be seen side-by-side or enlarged on the TxDOT voting site:

  • Traditional Texas. The plate features blue highlights with a gold Lone Star, and bold, red "TEXAS."

  • Lone Star Texas. A white Lone Star stands out in the top, left-hand corner of the plate. Wide brushes of red and blue punctuate the Texas sky on the top half of the plate along with a low-lying mountain range on the bottom.

  • Natural Texas. The entire plate is covered with wildflowers.

  • New Texas. This red, white and blue plate features a composite of modern landmark buildings from several Texas cities.

  • My Texas. This is the current general-issue license plate that was introduced in 2000. It features icons of the state, including a horse, space shuttle, and oil derrick.

    All of the plate designs were created by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

    "We're excited that the internet makes it possible for Texans to help choose the next general-issue license plate," said Rebecca Davio in a Feb. 4 press release.

    Davio is director of Vehicle Titles and Registration, the TxDOT division that oversees the manufacturing of the state's license plates.

    Even if Texans choose the current plate design, they will see something new in early 2009 when the state changes to seven-character, alpha-numeric plate patterns.

    "By the end of this year, we will be out of license plate combinations for the three letters and three numbers that we currently put on the general-issue plate," Davio said. "Because we need to change the plate, we thought it was the perfect time to invite Texans to participate in a design selection."

    By law, the Texas Transportation Commission must give final approval to any new general-issue plate design. If Texans select the current plate design, no further action is needed by the commission.


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