TALLAHASSE, Fla. -- A new license plate selected by Floridians in an online survey is being shelved, so the state's current plate will survive for the foreseeable future.
Floridians picked the above design last fall as their favorite of four choices. It was a flat plate with solid black letters, green bars at the top and bottom, and featuring an orange for the "o" in Florida.
But the project ran into controversy. Critics complained it was too bland. It also faced tough questions about how it would be produced and distributed.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does not necessarily consider the new design dead, but spokeswoman Leslie Palmer says Florida is taking a step back on the project.
"Right now we're staying with the current license plate. At some point in the future we may move on. Other states are looking at redesigns just for readability for law enforcement purposes, but for right now we're still just in a status quo, exploring options phase."
Palmer says Florida is talking with other states that have already moved to new license plates to find out what works best in that transition.
Last October, Highway Safety chief Julie Jones pushed for the new design because she said it would be easier to read for police and cameras. Jones said Florida was losing millions of dollars every year at toll booths and intersections when cameras could not read the raised lettering on the current embossed plate.
In December, the agency issued an invitation to negotiate for companies that wanted to manufacture the new plate, but that invitation was withdrawn.
Palmer says the state will proceed "prudently" on the project.
"We need to make sure we get a license plate that has the functionality that we need as well as saying what we want it to say about the state of Florida. So it's a process that should be thorough and diligent."