Sunday, November 23, 2014

Centennial license plate mystery

The following article was distributed to 90 newspapers across Arizona. The Sierra Vista Herald was the first to publish it:

In 2010, Arizona Revised Statute 28-2448 established the Arizona Centennial specialty license plate.  There is an extra $25 fee for purchasers of specialty license plates. Of that, $8 is kept by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) for the extra cost of producing the specialty plate and $17 is given to the charity or nonprofit organization sponsoring the plate. The statute establishing the centennial license plate provided for the $17 to be given to the Arizona Historical Society for the maintenance and operation of the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. In 2013 alone, ADOT distributed $126,500 dollars to the AHS from the specialty license plate fund.

However, there is no 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. There never was. The money given to an east coast designer produced a plan for a 15 million dollar museum display to be installed in an existing building. Not surprisingly, the fundraising effort for this ill-conceived project failed. The centennial museum boondoggle was a replay of the History Museum at Rio Nuevo fiasco. In that case, nearly one and a half million dollars of state funds was given to the same out of state designer to prepare plans for an impossibly expensive (85 million dollars) museum that could never be built.

Why does the state legislature throw money at the AHS for poorly planned projects that fail?

What is happening to the money collected for centennial license plates?

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