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    Orange may vanish from auto tags

    ©Associated Press
    April 23, 2003

    PENSACOLA -- Florida may redesign its standard auto tag, which pictures an orange so pale that critics say it looks more like the peach on Georgia plates, Gov. Jeb Bush and Cabinet members were told Tuesday.

    The tag's five-year issuing interval ends in October and replacements will be considered, said Fred Dickinson, executive director for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

    "I heard ... that we had a peach that looked like a Georgia tag, and I heard from Georgia residents that theirs looked like an orange," Dickinson said.

    "You heard it here first in Pensacola," Bush said. "If you like the orange, you're going to have to defend it."

    Bush and the three Cabinet members, who jointly oversee several state agencies, held one of their periodic "capital for a day" meetings here. Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson suggested replacing the orange, symbolic of the state's citrus industry, with the recently unveiled design for a Florida quarter. It depicts a space shuttle and sailing vessel.

    Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher said schoolchildren should have a contest to create the new tag design. Dickinson said he also leans toward the school contest idea.

    About 90 percent of Florida passenger vehicles bear the orange tag. The other 10 percent carry one of 54 specialty tags.

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