CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A question that’s been seeking an answer for nearly three years finally has one.

Gary Howell

“The State of West Virginia, according to the Division of Motor Vehicles and the licensing project, owns 8,380 vehicles,” came the announcement from Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, during Wednesday’s House of Delegates floor session.

Howell, the chairman of the House Government Organization Committee, and others have been on a mission to get a handle on the number of state vehicles licensed and insured. The legisalture passed House Bill 4015 last year that created a number of provisions including a requirement for the Fleet Management Division to continue to truck the number of vehicles and annually report that number.

All state-owned vehicles were required to have new gold and blue license plates, instead of the old green and white plates, by Jan. 1, 2019 under the State Vehicle Title, Registration and Relicensing Project of 2018, That’s where the fleet number Howell shared Wednesday comes from.

Howell said the original question asked three years wasn’t initially that easy to answer.

“Fleet Management gave us an estimate of about 7,500 vehicles that they were tracking. The Division of Motor Vehicles told us they had about 10,500 active license plates and the Board of Risk and Insurance Management said they were insuring approximately 12,500 vehicles,” Howell said.

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 previously told MetroNews.

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.

“We are committed to implementing sound, transparent government practices, and House Bill 4015 was a critical step in providing our citizens with a full accounting of how their tax dollars are being spent with regard to the state’s vehicle fleet,” Howell said Wednesday. “This legislation will continue to reap benefits by helping to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in state government.”

The breakdown of the 8,380 state-owned vehicles:

-4,175 Class A vehicles, which are either passenger cars or trucks with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less.

-2,907 Class B vehicles, which are trucks with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds, truck tractors or road tractors.

-1,031 Class C trailers, which are large trailers pulled by Class B motor vehicles and have a gross weight greater than 2,000 pounds.

-5 Class G motorcycles and parking enforcement vehicles.

-18 Class M pieces of mobile equipment (motorcycles)

-36 Class R house trailers.

-208 Class T trailers or semitrailers of a type designed to be drawn by Class A vehicles and having a gross weight of less than 2,000 pounds.

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