CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The green license plates are gone.

Beginning Jan. 1, all state-owned vehicles were required to have new gold and blue license plates. It’s a way to keep better track of the state’s vehicle fleet, Del. Gary Howell, the House of Delegates Government Organization Committee chair, said.

Gary Howell

“Every state agency had to literally go out in their parking lot, get the VIN number off the vehicle and submit it into the state computer system through OASIS and request a new license plate,” Howell told MetroNews. “That way we know exactly what vehicles are out there. We have a complete up-to-date list, the tags are going to match.”

Howell said he believes the state will end up with about 10,000 vehicles. Under the old system it was very difficult to get an accurate number of the fleet. Several state agencies disagreed on the numbers.

The new law allows state police to pull over anyone driving a vehicle with an old green state plate and ticket them.

“One of the things we kind of expect to find is that there might be some green tags out there that aren’t on state vehicles and people have been just running around on,” Howell said.

The old green plates had no expiration date.

The new law also requires the state vehicle registration to be renewed every two years along with a regular maintenance schedule. Another way to track the vehicles, Howell said.

“These data points are going to be introduced and if suddenly data stops coming in on a vehicle and we don’t have a record of it being sold it’s going to throw up a red flag and we are going to be able to ask questions and find out why,” Howell said.

The legislature began looking at the fleet issue a few years ago. Howell said several people told him it was a futile effort and not being able to find out exactly how vehicles were in operation was just a byproduct of government.

“But government shouldn’t be that bad,” Howell said.

He said the information gathered thus far has been interesting.

“We are finding more and more things. Once we start getting the data we can make more policy decisions like who should be allowed to take a vehicle home so the taxpayer doesn’t need to pay more than they need to,” Howell said.

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