Ohio will soon offer 255 specialty plate designs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio motorists will soon be able to choose from 255 different specialty license plates after three new ones are added later this month.

A new bill, expected to be signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, adds specialty tags for "Nationwide Children's Hospital," ''Power Squadron" boating education, and for holders of the Combat Action Ribbon or the Combat Action Badge, according to The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/HMG7qS ).

Ohio drivers can already shout out their support for cops, cattlemen, firefighters, freemasons, scenic rivers, coal and more. They can tell people to "Celebrate Kids," ''Choose Life," ''Donate Life," ''Share the Road," ''Support Our Troops," ''Fish Ohio" or "Visit Our Zoos."

Ohio also offers 58 different plate logos for colleges and universities. Ohio State University is the top seller, with 23,249 sold. The sales generated more than $600,000 in scholarship money for the university and more than $289,000 in extra fees for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The specialty plates generally cost $15 to $25 more than a standard one. Specialty plate sales generated $3 million last year for university scholarship funds, research efforts, children's sports leagues, foundations, counseling programs and more. State records showed they generated $2.6 million in fees for the motor vehicles bureau.

Some specialty plates do not generate revenue for outside organizations. For example, no one profited from the sale of 10,242 "One Nation Under God" plates issued last year.

Some of the tags require membership or licenses, such as the Realtor "Sold on Ohio" plate or the Civil Air Patrol or Amateur Radio plates. Others are reserved for military service members and their families.

Ohio has 8.9 million licensed drivers and 11.8 million registered vehicles. All license plates are made by inmates at Lebanon Correctional Institution. Prisoners there make about 172,200 plates a year.