JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Roughly 2.6 million pounds of aluminum and more than 500,000 square feet of sheeting went into making 12 million bicentennial license plates that are now in circulation.

The state of Missouri issued a new license plate design to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2021.The new plates, which are replacing the Missouri bluebird license plate introduced in 2008, become available on October 15, 2018.

“It is an important time in our state to look at the history we have been through and the history that this license plate reflects,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. “Missourians will be able to see at every street corner a reflection of our history.”

This design is intended representative of the entire state, not specific to a certain region. The plate design has red waves at the top of the plate and blue waves at the bottom of the plate to symbolize our Missouri flag and Missouri rivers. The design also features Missouri’s state seal in the center of the plate, the years 1821 and 2021, and a star.

The original intention for the plate was to have a darker background and lighter lettering, however visibility concerns sent the design back to the drawing board. When the rethought designs came up for the vote, they settled on the current plate unanimously, according to Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer.

“This is something that will out live my short term as a representative, as a senator,” said Sen. Caleb Rowden. “But it is something is monumental and important to the history of our state.”

He noted that it is important to give Missouri’s history a future and this license plate does that.

“This is something to be proud of,” Kolkmeyer said.

The Department of Revenue had 20 employees working on the bicentennial license plates — on top of their regular duties — since 2016. Between labor and materials, plates cost the state $17 million. Joel Walters, the Director of the Department of Revenue, noted that the aluminum was purchased before the tariffs went into effect.  

To recuperate the cost of the reissuance, Missouri drivers will be charge $1.68 for one embossed plate, $3.36 for a set, and $3.77 for one flat plate, $7.54 for a set.

The charge for the bicentennial plates is in addition to paying the one- or two-year registration fee. The plates are expected to be in use for five to ten years.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.