Decatur, IL – On the cusp of a new fiscal year, Governor Pat Quinn has ordered the sale of nearly half of the State’s $22 million fleet of aircraft.
State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), a long-time critic of the state planes, was encouraged by the Governor’s decision but believes the State should go even further.
“I think the Governor’s order is a step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough,” Mitchell said. “The State is spending millions each year on executive aircraft to fly the Governor and top leaders between Chicago and Springfield. We found out this spring that state planes are being used to fly prairie chickens into Illinois. These flights are a waste of taxpayer dollars and should be stopped altogether.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) maintains a fleet of sixteen aircraft, including six executive aircraft, worth an estimated $22 million. In Fiscal Year 2014, IDOT spent more than $7 million to operate and maintain the State’s fleet of aircraft. IDOT has spent nearly $33 million over the last five years on the air fleet, while costs have gone up by 35 percent.
“I have repeatedly filed legislation to sell the state air fleet,” Mitchell said. “I haven’t seen specifics on the Governor’s plan beyond a press release. If it’s his intention to only sell half of the executive fleet, I would urge further action to sell all non-emergency aircraft owned by the State. It’s time to put an end to these perks of political power.”