Post reader, first responder team up to pay bond for NY 9/11 license plate rollout – New York Post

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New Yorkers finally will get 9/11 commemorative license plates after a businessman and a first responder teamed up to end state inaction that blocked the plates from being issued.

A law signed by Gov. Cuomo last August and in effect since last month called on the DMV to issue the plates, but the agency was doing nothing to implement it, The Post reported.

Officials claimed they could not design or produce the plates until the DMV received a $6,000 bond to cover initial costs, or sold 200 license plates.

But the DMV did not try to find a sponsor or sell plates in advance, so the project stalled.

After reading The Post’s article last Sunday, Neil Pedersen, owner of Pedersen & Sons Surety Bond Agency, volunteered to put up the required bond to get the process started. It cost only $120.

“I thought how unintelligent it is to have a $6,000 surety bond hold up the entire process,” Pedersen said. “A surety bond can be easy to obtain when the applicant is dealing with a knowledgeable professional like myself.”

John Feal (left), a 9/11 first responder, and Neil Pedersen, owner of a bond agency
John Feal (left), a 9/11 first responder, and Neil Pedersen, owner of a bond agencyHelayne Seidman

A native New Yorker, Pedersen witnessed the 9/11 terror attacks up close. His Maiden Lane company is located a couple blocks from the World Trade Center and has been there for three decades.

It also bothered Pedersen that the stalemate was holding up a source of funds — the annual $25 fee per plate — intended to help 9/11 victims, first-responders and their families pay for college.

“The plates are important because they fund scholarships,” he said.

Under DMV rules, Pedersen needed an organization to co-sponsor the bond.

Enter John Feal, who founded the Fealgood Foundation to aid Ground Zero workers. He immediately agreed to join Pedersen — and split the $120 fee. They completed the DMV forms on Friday.

Now Feal will work with DMV staff to design the 9/11 plate, he said.

Although his group focuses on 9/11 responders, Feal calls for a “universal” design for the plates.

“It has to be something that captures the theme of all those affected by 9/11 over the past 18 years — humanity, love, support and resilience,” he said.

The symbols should include something like a helping hand or a heart, he said, but not the Twin Towers because that might remind people of suffering from the terror attacks.

Like all New York license plates, state prison inmates will produce them. “I think it will give them a sense of purpose,” Feal said.

Lawmakers who co-sponsored the law hailed Pedersen and Feal.

Long Island assemblyman Fred Thiele said, “We look forward to seeing the DMV plate and giving the public a chance to not only memorialize those who died on 9/11 and of 9/11-related causes, but to support our first responders.”

Thirteen other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, already have special 9/11-inspired license plates.

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