New state car tag out Jan. 1

Published 11:59 pm Monday, December 29, 2008

Beginning Jan. 1, the “Sweet Home Alabama” car tag will replace the “Stars Fell on Alabama” tag.

The new tag, which features a beach scene, was unveiled Oct. 7 by Gov. Bob Riley and state tourism director Lee Sentell.

Riley assigned the tourism department to design the new plate and chose it to reflect the Gulf Coast’s importance to Alabama’s tourism industry. Baldwin and Mobile counties combine to generate more than 30 percent of the state’s $9.8 billion tourism revenue.

The new tags will also feature county numbers — i.e., 23 for Covington County — a feature not available on the previous tag style.

Florala resident Mike Suggs, who visited the Covington County courthouse Monday to purchase a tag for his new truck, said it is a feature he has missed seeing.

“I just like knowing where people are from,” Suggs said. “I’ve really missed that.”

The new design drew criticism from some lawmakers and north Alabama tourism groups who stated they were disappointed the state’s newly designed tag didn’t include a glimpse of scenic mountains.

So far, the state tourism agency has not received any complaints.

“They may start paying attention when they see them on cars in January,” Sentell said.