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Some temporary license plates have a different look — for now

Q. I would swear I have seen at least four different styles of the temporary paper license plates that go on new cars. There were several with the expiration date in different spots. Also, the font was different on some. Do you know why the plates are so varied? I thought the dealers all go onto the same website for the Department of Motor Vehicles and print out the paper plates.

– Ray Villagracia, Lake Forest

A. California’s temporary license plates do have different looks – for now.

Yes, dealerships log in so they can print out the temporary plates, which are on durable paper. They reach out to one of five approved vendors that help the dealers get the unique plate sequence on specialized paper.

“Each of the providers has agreed to use the same format and font so that all temporary license plates have the same look,” Ivette Burch, a DMV spokeswoman in Sacramento, told Honk via email.

She went on to say that earlier this year the DMV, working with the California Highway Patrol, changed the format and font to make the plates easier to read.

Four of the businesses have switched to the new style, while the fifth will do so by Jan. 1, she said.

What about the other looks Ray has seen out there?

“There are several other states that issue paper temporary license plates,” Burch said. “They have various formats, however, (and) may look similar or very different than the temporary license plates issued in (California).”

Q. In the not-too-distant future, the improvements on the I-405 Freeway in Orange County will have been completed. Two lanes each way will be added. Unfortunately, they will be carpool-only lanes and you have to pay! My question to you, Honkster, is where will all that toll money go? My gut tells me the general fund instead of for maintaining the roads! And on top of it all, we needed more regular lanes, not carpool ones! Traffic will not get any better!

– Mike Frantz, Huntington Beach

A. By 2023, one more regular lane and a toll lane should be constructed on the I-405 in each direction between the 73 and I-605 freeways.

The current carpool lane will disappear in each direction to become the second toll lane; together they will form the 405 Express Lanes for people avoiding freeway congestion.

On that 16-mile tollway, solo drivers will be able to pay to bypass the adjacent regular traffic, while a driver and passenger will have the option to use it for free, except during peak hours when they will also pay to use the Express Lanes. Vehicles with three or more occupants always will be free.

The new regular lane will be paid for in conventional fashion, with tax dollars. The tolls will cover the cost of the Express Lanes and other traffic improvements in the area.

The toll policy hasn’t been hammered out, but it will use the concept deployed on the 91 Express Lanes, where the toll goes up and down based on demand. That, in part, is meant to ensure that a driver who forks over a toll gets a breezy drive.

Orange County Transportation Authority officials say its $1.9 billion in improvements will make a big difference.

Even those who stay out of the Express Lanes are to benefit from the tollway, because those toll lanes will take drivers out of the traditional lanes, said Joel Zlotnik, a spokesman for the agency.

“Whether you choose to use the Express Lanes or not, you are going to have a better commute,” he said. “Traffic will be better overall.”

Honkin’ fact: In December, Vivian Anderson and her mom went out to get a bite to eat, passed a construction site and saw a sign that said, “Men at Work.” But women were out there working, too. So the 10-year-old wrote a letter to the mayor of Tampa, Florida. The girl thought “Workers Present” made more sense. Recently, a letter arrived at the Anderson house: the mayor agreed, and the city is now ensuring that contractors’ signs are inclusive. (Source: ABC Action News in Tampa)

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

Source: Orange County Register

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