Secretary of State introduces new SIUC vanity license plate

By Gus Bode

Illinois drivers who purchase a new SIUC vanity license plate may do more for the university than provide bumper advertising.

Money earned from the new vanity license plates, introduced on campus Thursday by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, partially contribute to scholarship programs at the university, White said.

The plates, which cost $212 to purchase and $118 to renew each year, are an improvement from previous SIUC plates because buyers can personalize what they say.


The university’s vanity plate has a maroon banner across the top that carries the state’s name, and a silhouette of the Pulliam Hall tower on the left side.

Rich Piccioli, deputy director of the state vehicle department, said he did not know if a possible increase to the state’s fee for license plates would be reflected on the cost of the vanity design for SIUC.

Such a fee increase is one of the suggestions to be made by SIU President Glenn Poshard and former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, directors of the Illinois Works Coalition, said SIU spokesman Dave Gross.

The coalition was formed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to find funding options for state construction projects. The $20 increase would allow the state government to pay for the projects, which are valued at $25 billion.

“[The increase] is not unreasonable considering what people would be getting in return,” Gross said.

The list of projects includes SIUC’s proposed Transportation Education Facility for the university’s automotive and aviation programs, and the final $21.8 million needed for the renovation of Morris Library.

When it was introduced to the Illinois House of Representatives, the list was known as the Capital Construction Plan. But the House rejected the plan because it meant the state would have to expand gambling to pay for the projects.


After the capital plan was rejected, Blagojevich asked Poshard and Hastert to recommend another way the state could pay for the projects other than gambling and increasing taxes.

White said the license plate fees were increased in 1999 to pay for a similar list of construction projects. Though he denied sharing his opinion on the idea, White said he would follow the direction of the state legislature.

“I’m only a messenger, and I will place a disclaimer in my office that says I didn’t do it,” he said.

Daily Egyptian writer Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 274 or [email protected]