- Associated Press - Sunday, March 5, 2017

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - A new specialty motor vehicle license plate was launched to benefit the state parks system in Alabama.

The license plate dubbed “State Parks Supporter” launched in January, the Tuscaloosa News (https://bit.ly/2mQjqXX) reported. The plate costs an additional $50 and can be requested with motor vehicle owners renew their tags at their local county offices.

License commissioner Jeff Brown said 12 tags have been sold by the Tuscaloosa County office.

Kevin Jones, marketing specialist for the parks, said the state parks will receive about 80 percent of the revenue through the specialty plate. About 20 percent will go toward administrative costs.

“We haven’t yet identified where the revenue is going to be spent, but we would like for our supporters to be able to enjoy an immediate return,” Jones said.

Tags and other new revenue programs are being rolled out by the department. It comes after a referendum in November that provided more assurances fees and other funding from parks so they wouldn’t be taken away to fill budget holes.

“We have been running lean and mean for the last five or six years,” Jones said. “Now, any type of additional revenue coming in is great for us. We are definitely happy with programs like this.”

The state parks are looking to start a dirt trail program so people can voluntarily donate $35 a year for equipment and project to enhance trails statewide.

Veteran programs are being developed to allow people to make donations to cover cost of admission for veterans to state parks, Jones said.

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