Editorial: Plates protect state lighthouses

Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill last week that will provide funds to save Washington’s historic lighthouses without raising taxes.

The motivation for the legislative effort, sponsored by Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and Rep. Barbara Bailey, came mainly from supporters of Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey, who work through the Washington State University Extension Office in Coupeville. These dedicated volunteers have kept the lighthouse spiffy looking and well maintained for years, but they sorely lack in funding. The lighthouse bill should provide those funds.

Citizens will have the opportunity beginning next Jan. 1, to purchase special vehicle license plates that attractively display a lighthouse with mountains in the background. These will cost $40 more than regular plates, but the money goes to support Admiralty Head and other lighthouses in the state. Estimates are that that tens of thousands of dollars will be raised.

Only those with a little extra money to spend in supporting a beautiful part of the state’s history will pay. And they’ll get the satisfaction that comes from driving around with a uniquely designed license plate, and knowing that they’ve helped save a lighthouse or two.

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