Kennedy says lawmakers will explore Cuomo plate plan in legislative and budgetary sessions

Aug 30, 2019

Count State Senator Timothy Kennedy among those not enthusiastic about Governor Cuomo's recently-announced plan to update New York State license plates, and then require holders of older plates to buy them. But would he, as asked by a fellow local state lawmaker, hold public hearings on the plan?

State Senator Timothy Kennedy, speaking in Buffalo Friday morning.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Buffalo Democrat, who chairs the State Senate's Transportation Committee, was asked for his thoughts following the release of a letter by State Senator Chris Jacobs, urging he host public hearings on the Cuomo plan.

"We're going to be looking at this and many other initiatives throughout the legislative and budgetary process, as we always do," Kennedy said Friday. "Certainly, this is something that we've heard a tremendous amount of community opposition, a lot of questions on. It's something we'll be vetting through the process."

The Cuomo Administration argues that plates ten years or older need to be replaced, as well as more recently-issued plates which have peeled or become defective, in order to ensure New York's growing cashless toll scanning system is able to read those plates.

Critics, including New York State Republican Chair Nick Langworthy and State Senator Robert Ortt, say the plan is merely a cash grab by the Cuomo Administration. Some also complain of the voting contest, which ends Monday, to choose from among five proposed new plate designs. One features the downstate bridge, formerly Tappan Zee, which has since been renamed the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

While he stopped short of supporting Senator Jacobs' request for public hearings, even Kennedy doesn't like the idea of requiring motorists to buy new license plates if the ones they have now are functioning just fine.

"I've made it clear that I'm with the community, that I don't think the community should be nickel-and-dimed for new product they don't necessarily need," he said. "We need to stand together and get that message out. I think across the state we're hearing that."