The superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is defending the agency’s purchase of a new airplane.
Colonel Ron Replogle told House budget writers that it was his idea to buy the $5.6 million aircraft. More than one committee member asked him about the quick timetable on the plane’s purchase, as the bid went out around December 6th and was awarded on the 17th. Replogle says Beechcraft was offering a discount on that particular King Air 250 because it was a year-old model.
“And that price for that year-old model was only available for a certain period of time, in fact, I think we were given that through the end of the year," Replogle said. "That price for that aircraft would have changed, probably after January 1st.”
Replogle says the King Air 250 will be used for drug interdiction and other law enforcement operations, as well as for flying the Governor and other state officials to public appearances. State Representative Jeff Grisamore (R, Lee's Summit) asked Replogle which would happen more often – law enforcement missions, or executive use.
“I don’t have that in front of me," Replogle said. "I would estimate it to be probably 70-30, somewhere in that vicinity.” “70 percent Patrol use?” Grisamore asked. Replogle answered, “No, the reverse...for that particular aircraft."
Replogle also told the House Budget Committee that the new airplane cannot be used for political trips. Committee members also want to question Acting Office of Administration Commissioner Doug Nelson, who signed off on the Patrol’s request to buy the plane. His confirmation to head the office full-time has been delayed by State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) over the plane's purchase.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport