Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Maryland Capitals?

I was driving along on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway a few weeks ago when I noticed a vehicle in front of me had Maryland plates with a Washington Capitals logo.

It irked me.

After all, the Caps play in Penn Quarter/Chinatown, just four blocks from my office and eight blocks from my home, not in Maryland. Nevertheless, Marylanders are sporting special Caps plates, while DC residents are not.

Apparently, the Capitals announced an agreement with both Maryland and Virginia to offer special plates about a year ago. There's a $50 charge for the plates in Maryland and $25 charge in Virginia. A significant portion of the money collected goes to charity.

Why not make special sports team plates available for all of DC's teams? Perhaps a portion of the fee could go toward supporting programming at recreational centers, a summer sports camp for youth, or some other good cause?

Yes, this would mean an alternative to the standard "Taxation Without Representation" plates, but, in my view, this is also a Home Rule issue.

I am not aware of any reason why DC could not provide the specialized tags. The District already provides for personalized tags and certain "organizational tags," such as for various fraternities, DC Fire Fighters Local 36, and, believe it or not, the "Bad Boys Club."

Legislation is likely needed to authorize the tags, fee, and use of the revenue. I've suggested that Councilmember Jack Evans introduce the necessary legislation given that many of our teams play in Ward 2 and his interest in sports issues.  His response was that it sounds like a good idea and that he would have the Committee staff look into it.

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