The cost of driving in New York may have just gone down slightly.
The Andrew Cuomo administration on Tuesday officially abandoned a requirement for drivers to get new license plates if their plates are more than 10 years old.
The new plates would have cost $25.
The governor's office had slowly been backing away from the move for weeks. But the admission came after a new Siena College poll found that 60 percent of people opposed the plan and even more — 75 percent — thought the charge for a new plate was unfair.
"Maybe the state has realized the level of opposition from voters and has decided to switch gears," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. "I think the voters would say that's a good thing."
The Cuomo administration argued it had backed away from the plan weeks ago and it was not a result of the bad polling.
In a statement, Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to the Cuomo administration said, "As the DMV commissioner said weeks ago, this proposal isn't going forward as we have committed to working with the legislature to create a plan that ensures plates are readable by law enforcement and cashless tolling systems and creates a process whsere plates older than 10 years are inspected and, if still readable, can be kept. Why Siena would spend its time polling outdated information is beyond me."
The mandate was part of a plan by Cuomo to overhaul the state's license plates, which he said was necessary to implement cashless tolling.
Cuomo said the current colors were not ideal for license plate readers.
(A current New York state license plate. Courtney Gross/NY1.)
"If you don't pay, then we'd have to pay out of tax dollars and then you are charging New Yorkers who have nothing to do with anything and they are buying your license plate," Cuomo said. "You have four cars, you have to pay for four license plates."
But that plan quickly drew attacks from Republicans, who claimed the requirement and the $25 fee was just another tax from the governor.
"Do you want a multi-million dollar plate replacement program when you have some of the highest registration fees in the nation right now, and it costs $1.15 for a plate to be made in the state of New York?" said Republican State Sen. James Tedisco of Schenectady.