Governor's, Crew's Air Fare To Pike County Over $7,000

FRANKFORT, KY -- Gov. Steve Beshear took three planeloads of officials with him to Pike County on Thursday at a cost of more than $7,000 for the first stop in his six-week statewide tour of town-hall meetings, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

That came just days after Beshear suggested ways state workers could conserve on fuel when commuting.

The trip's cost immediately drew criticism from political opponents who pointed to the state's budget crunch that Beshear and lawmakers have bemoaned all year. The administration defended the flights, saying they saved officials' time, reports the Herald-Leader.

Beshear, joined by all but two of his Cabinet secretaries, presided over the meeting in the Eastern Kentucky town of Virgie to talk with constituents about issues and goals.

Three planes departed Frankfort's Capitol Airport between 4:09 p.m. and 4:44 p.m. Thursday bound for Pike County-Hatcher Field, according to data on the airplane tracking Web site, reports the newspaper.

The governor and several aides traveled in Kentucky State Police's 11-seat Beechcraft King Air. More than a dozen others were split between another 11-seat King Air chartered from Air Lexington and an eight-seat Piper Navajo owned by the state's Transportation Cabinet.

The State Police King Air cost $1,320 for the 1.1 flight-hour round trip, said Lt. Phil Crumpton, state police spokesman. The agency just increased its rate July 10 from $925 per flight hour to $1,200 to keep pace with rising fuel costs, the newspaper reports.

Flying the state's Piper Navajo cost $1,294, while the bill for chartering the second King Air was $4,474, according to the governor's office.

That amounted to $7,088 for the three flights, not counting the cost of aides and state police shuttling the governor and Cabinet members to and from the airports and several other carloads of aides who drove three hours each way.

A 350-mile round trip between Frankfort and Virgie in a sport utility vehicle would cost about $100 worth of gasoline, reports the newspaper.

But Beshear's administration argued that flying to Pikeville ”saved 100 hours of work time, if not more“ for the governor and the 15 other officials who flew, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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  • by anne Location: harlan ky on Jul 23, 2008 at 04:22 AM
    Why did it take 3 planes for the governor to meet with the people ? one plane would have sufficient..Come on quit wasting tax payers money...
  • by j Location: Corbin on Jul 22, 2008 at 12:28 PM
    He can forget his reputation,this is a crazy man cutting us every way he can then spend money like this.I will not vote for this a--whole.He needs to cut his salary and those 3 plane loads of people by 8% to get more loose money in the state.Everyone of those people most likely make over 100,000 a year,the people he's hurting the most doesn't make 30-50,000a year.we have worked for a living so we don't get nothing but higher prices for everything.
  • by Debra Location: Pike County on Jul 22, 2008 at 10:36 AM
    $7,000???????? Thats more than twice the yearly Pike County tax revenue. You know, we're all on welfare and don't pay taxes :)
  • by RIDIN' Location: DaTrail on Jul 22, 2008 at 09:12 AM
    There should be an ATV trail that stretches from Frankfort to Pikeville. Then when the GOV. comes to town he will have something to talk about (ADVENTURE TOURSIM). He could tell us all about his adventures on the trail from Frankfort to Pikeville and all places in between.
  • by DEB Location: KY on Jul 22, 2008 at 06:47 AM
    at least the GOV cared enough to acknowledge that we are here! Why dont you people start at thr top with the PREZ! How many trillions have we the people of the US paid, and how much are we still paying for a war that should never started or at the least (be over)! sO LETS NOT PICK ON THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVNT FORGOTTEN THAT WE ARE STILL LIVING IN THEESE UNITED STATES!
  • by upset Location: hazard on Jul 21, 2008 at 09:14 PM
    Beshear is really putting our tax dollars to work for himself.
  • by Mom Location: KY on Jul 21, 2008 at 03:00 PM
    Well, if they're SERIOUS about the concerns of KY, why do they have to start wasting money? There is no excuse for that $7,000 trip. We have other people who can tell him what we need, without him making trips to see. Well, ok, say he really is concerned and wants to meet people, let him go in a car, or even pay for the trip out of his pocket-he would stay in Frankfort!
  • by jason Location: jackson on Jul 21, 2008 at 11:17 AM
    The governor is used to working at his lawyer firm. How many people does it take to cover-up for the man? Save a horse ride a plane. Help us all.
  • by grumpy on Jul 21, 2008 at 10:04 AM
    why not bring them in a bus 700 hundred instead of a 7000 dollar plane
  • by Bill Location: Southeast Ky on Jul 21, 2008 at 08:56 AM
    Why is the Governor even taking these trips. The campaign is over and we elect our State Reps. to go to Frankfort to discuss our needs. We don't need the governor wasting tax money to make these little public apperances.


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