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6:21 PM Thu, Nov. 15th

Arizona gives Route 66 a license plate

A Route 66 specialty plate on Route 66.

Courtesy/Josh Noble

A Route 66 specialty plate on Route 66.

KINGMAN – Historic Route 66 specialty license plates are now available with funds going toward historic highway preservation efforts.

According to a statement from the Arizona Department of Transportation, three new plates were made available starting Dec. 19. Most notably for Kingman drivers, a Route 66 plate that will generate money for historic preservation. Also new this year is a Grand Canyon University plate that will raise funds for academic scholarships, and a Special Olympics plate that will support the organization’s sports, health and leadership programs.

Jan Davis, Director of Operations at Powerhouse Visitor Center and member of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona (which is headquartered at the center) has a display plate at the gift shop. She said the idea was the brainchild of Phoenix resident and Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona member Steve Wingenfeld, who proposed the idea as a fundraiser and brought forth the idea to ADOT.

“He’s been a great promoter,” Davis said. “He’s been very instrumental.”

He couldn’t be reached for comment, but Davis said inquires have already begun.

“We’ve already had people contact us by email asking where to get the plate,” she said “We’ve even had people from overseas inquire.”

This year was the 90th anniversary of the establishment of Route 66, and the 30th Annual Route 66 Fun Run from Seligman to Topock is planned for May 5-7. Registrations are being accepted at www.azrt66.com.

The specialty plate program was established by state law in 1989, and since fiscal 2007, the total revenue generated from the sale of such plates has reached $66 million. Those funds support causes including cancer awareness and research, child abuse prevention, environmental awareness, organ donation, university scholarships, veterans’ programs, and more.

“The specialty plate program is a real point of pride for Arizona and is a tremendous success,” said Motor Vehicle Division Director Eric Jorgensen. “To have raised $66 million since 2007 proves Arizonans are both generous and eager to support great causes. Even during the depth of the economic downturn a few years ago, these revenues went up and that trend is continuing today.”

A fourth plate, for the 100 Club/First Responders, will soon be available pending completion of the plate design. Those funds will go toward scholarships for family members of public safety officers and firefighters.

As of Wednesday, 160 Route 66 plates have been ordered, according to ADOT spokesman Steve Elliott. Specialty plates typically cost $25. Of that, $17 is committed to the benefitting organization.

For more information about specialty plates including how to order, please visit ServiceArizona.com or azdot.gov/mvd.