Arizona's Route 66 license plate named best in U.S.

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Arizona's Route 66 license plate was introduced in December,. (Source: The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association) Arizona's Route 66 license plate was introduced in December,. (Source: The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association)
(Source: pabkov via 123RF) (Source: pabkov via 123RF)
(Source: perseomedusa via 123RF) (Source: perseomedusa via 123RF)
Arizona's centennial plate won the 2011 ALPCA award. (Source: Arizona Dept. of Transportation) Arizona's centennial plate won the 2011 ALPCA award. (Source: Arizona Dept. of Transportation)
Arizona's 1996 general issue license plate (Source: PlateVault) Arizona's 1996 general issue license plate (Source: PlateVault)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona’s specialty license plate paying homage to the “Mother Road” is the third plate from the Grand Canyon state to win a national award – Best Plate of 2016.

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA) has been handing out the award since 1970.

“ALPCA members worldwide vote based on the overall attractiveness of the plate design and its legibility as a tool for public safety and law enforcement,” according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The Route 66 plate was introduced in December, along with plates for Grand Canyon University and the Special Olympics.

[READ MORE: MVD introducing GCU, Route 66 and Special Olympics license plate]

Funds raised by specialty license plates is earmarked for specific organizations or causes. Money from the Route 66 plates – they are $25 for the initial application fee and then $25 annually -- supports historic preservation funds for the highway. Taken as a group – there are dozens of options – specialty plates have raised $66 million for various charities since 2007.

ADOT says the Route 66 plate has been “a strong seller.”

“As of the end of April, nearly 6,000 had been sold, and more than $51,000 had been raised to support preservation efforts for the highway that crosses iconic northern Arizona landscapes and historic communities,” according to the agency.

“The plate's visually appealing retro design particularly resonated with our members for its tribute to the legendary Mother Road,” Cyndi McCabe, the president of ALPCA, said.

[ONLINE: Historic66.com]

"Route 66 carried more than cars, it carried peoples' lives and millions of their stories,” Eric Jorgensen, the directors of the Motor Vehicle Division, said ahead of Thursday’s official ceremony at Wesley Bolin Plaza. “Even though its use as a major highway ended long ago, its ability to be an inspiration endures. We're honored to be part of the effort to preserve this historic roadway by offering this award-winning plate."

Arizona is not the only state with a Route 66 license plate. Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and New Mexico also have plates honoring the Mother Road.

The Route 66 plate is the third Arizona plate to win ALPCA's best plate award. The first was the general plate issued in 1996; the second was the Arizona centennial plate that came out in 2011.

"Founded in 1954, ALPCA the world's oldest and largest non-profit organization devoted to researching, collecting and promoting license plates which have become historical artifacts," reads the news release announced the award. There are nearly 3,000 ALPCA members throughout the world, including more than 100 in the Arizona chapter, which is called the Arizona License Plate Society.

[YouTube: Glenn Frey sings "Route 66"]

"Route 66" lyrics

Well, if you ever plan to motor west, take my way. It's the highway that's the best.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well, it winds from Chicago to L.A. -- more than 2,000 miles all the way.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well, it goes through St. Louis; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty.

You'll see Amarillo; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; don't forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip and take that California trip.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well, it goes through St. Louis; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty.

You'll see Amarillo; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; don't forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip?

When you make that California trip, get your kicks on Route 66.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

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