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'Flying Our Colors' license plate, with proceeds for flood relief, to be available starting in September
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'Flying Our Colors' license plate, with proceeds for flood relief, to be available starting in September

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The Flying Our Colors license plate is set to be available in September.

Iowans will soon have another license plate option, one that will benefit flood relief efforts in the state.

The “Flying Our Colors” license plate are set to be available in mid-September, according to Iowa Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa and Pottawattamie County Treasurer Lea Voss. The specialty plate fee will go toward the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board for the next three years, rather than the general fund. The cost is $35 for the initial issuance of a standard alpha-numeric plate, with an additional $25 due for a personalized plate. After three years, the Iowa Legislature will have the option to renew the funding diversion or end it.

Hanusa noted that while the funds from the plates are currently scheduled to go toward flood relief for three years, the plates will be available in perpetuity.

“I have had people say to me ‘Hey when are we going to be able to get that?’” said Hanusa, who spearheaded the effort in the Legislature. “It’s a plate a lot of people really want. With the added bonus that they’re doing something good by providing flood relief as well.”

“Flying Our Colors” finished a close second in a 2017 statewide vote held by the Iowa Department of Transportation to establish a new standard license plate. Hanusa, who will not seek re-election after five terms in the House, represents District 16 in Council Bluffs.

“I’ve had so many people come up to me and say ‘I voted for this plate,’” she said. “Now they have the option if they want.”

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Voss said an order of the plate is expected to arrive within the next few weeks.

“We’ve had people come in saying, ‘Do you have any yet?’” the county treasurer said.

Hanusa said the Department of Transportation is set to have the option available online on Sept. 14. Standard plates will be available at the treasurer’s office, with personalized plates available for order online. Go to iowadot.gov for more information.

The Flood Mitigation Board was created by the Legislature in 2012 to work with flood mitigation issues in all 99 counties. In the wake of last year’s flooding, the Legislature allocated $15 million to the board for flood relief. Most of that was earmarked for flood damage in Mills and Fremont Counties.

The Legislature appropriated another $21 million for flood relief at the start of this year’s session.

“So that a lot of the critical levee work could get done before spring floods. Thankfully we didn’t have that,” Hanusa said, noting about levees along the Missouri River, “The work continues, but we are in a much better, safer place than we were a year ago at this time.”

Hanusa introduced a bill to establish the new plate with flood funding in January. When the 2020 session resumed in the spring, bill passed unanimously in the House, before the language was moved to a different bill that passed both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the session.

“I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to get it over the finish line, but we did,” Hanusa said, thanking Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley for his work on the effort and Gov. Kim Reynolds for signing the bill. “I’ll be excited to see them going down the road.”

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