BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — After experiencing a factory equipment failure in mid-July that saw license plate production in Idaho grind to a halt, normal operations resumed on Wednesday, Idaho Transportation Department communications manager John Tomlinson told the Idaho Statesman.
ITD partners with the Idaho Correctional Institution to manufacture car license plates throughout the state. A malfunction with one of the machines in the factory resulted in a complete halt until the broken parts could be replaced.
ITD originally forecast normal operations to begin on July 29, but through ICI they managed to get production rolling two days ahead of schedule. ICI is a self-funded program that allows incarcerated inmates to decrease idleness while in prison by providing work experience and job training.
“Today is the first full day back to production. So license plates are being made and mailed out effective today,” Tomlinson told the Statesman on Wednesday. “They are going to be working overtime to be able to catch up and be able to send out these license plates as quickly as possible.”
Tomlinson said that he doesn’t know precisely when ICI will have caught up on the backlog of orders but that people waiting for a license plate can expect it to arrive in about two to three weeks. Under normal circumstances, a plate would arrive in 7 to 10 days, he said.
“Monday is going to be a normal day,” Tomlinson said. “But Tuesday through Friday, they’re going to be working 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., they’re going to be putting in 13-hour days until the backlog is gone.”
ITD has alerted law enforcement agencies about the delay and that paper licenses will remain valid for as long as there is still a backlog in production, even if the paper license is past the expiration date.
As soon as ICI has caught up with the backlog, ITD will communicate with law enforcement that normal circumstances can resume and that people should receive their metal licenses on time.
ITD is asking anyone waiting on a metal license plate to print off the notice on their website and to keep it displayed in their car window until their metal plate arrives.