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Legislators scratching their heads over jet


January 13, 2005

As the legislative session gets underway, Alaska Democrats say the surprise return of the executive jet for Governor Frank Murkowski has legislators scratching their heads.

"This is the same aircraft that was a wildly unpopular use of Homeland Security funds back in October," said Representative Eric Croft, D-Anchorage. "Now, he is trying to use $1.4 million of state general funds to fly in style."

"This money is enough to restore the longevity bonus for 500 needy Alaska seniors," said Representative Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage, "or provide 11 new state troopers to keep people safe."

Alaska Democrats said while the governor's budget request attempts to justify the jet for "emergency responses and other routine uses such as prisoner transport", it has serious limitations for public safety uses.

  • Jets are difficult to operate on gravel runways because of the risk to the turbines.
  • The increased cruising speed only helps on long trips and does not significantly reduce travel time for in-state travel.
  • The luxurious features of the jet are not particularly needed for prisoner transportation.
  • The jet could only transport 6 prisoners.
  • Adding a different type of aircraft to the state fleet requires new training for the mechanics and an expanded parts inventory, increasing the maintenance costs to the state.

"We shouldn't fly prisoners around on a luxury jet," Croft said."They're not in a hurry and shouldn't have the martinis anyway. If Frank wants an executive jet, he should spend his own money, not the people's. As an excuse, this is just ridiculous. As a reason, it's worse."

Source of News:

Alaska Democrats
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