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      License plate featuring the Mackinac Bridge recognized as world's best

      The new Michigan license plate featuring the Mighty Mac is getting worldwide recognition.

      The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association has overwhelmingly voted Michigan's Mackinac Bridge license plate as the world's best new plate.

      First issued last August, the plate features the bridge against a sunrise sky.

      Since 1970, ALPCA has recognized the state or province with the best new license plate design of the year. Effective last year, all plates of the world were eligible for the contest.

      Michigan's plate was selected as the winner from among 12 finalists by ALPCA members for only the second time in the contest's history. In 1976, the state's red, white and blue bicentennial plate earned best new plate honors.

      ALPCA members worldwide were asked to nominate and then vote on the best new plates based in part on the overall attractiveness of the license plate design. "I knew it had an excellent chance of winning the moment I first saw it," said Gus Oliver, ALPCA's Best Plate Award Coordinator.

      "We're delighted that ALPCA has honored Michigan with its plate of the year award," Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. "The Mackinac Bridge is a spectacular example of the many things that make our state such a special place. It represents what we call 'Pure Michigan,' and when people see it on our vehicles, we hope they will consider it an invitation to come and explore the Great Lakes State."

      The Mackinac Bridge plate was designed by Brian Whitfield, a Michigan Department of Transportation employee. It is available for new registrations and as a replacement of a current tag for an extra, one-time cost of $5. To date, more than 112,000 have been sold.

      "Millions of people have experienced the awe and wonder of traveling across the Mackinac Bridge," said William Gnodtke, chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority. "It is an iconic and inspiring structure that is one of the world's great engineering feats. We are pleased to learn the license plate that features it has received this acclaim."