MoDOT officials' flights grounded

| 2/26/2003

The Missouri Department of Transportation has grounded employees who were using state planes to fly around the state, according to media reports.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Feb. 23 that state officials in Missouri were looking into airplane flights paid for by the Department of Transportation.

The department paid for 229 flights costing more than $250,000 last year. According to The Post-Dispatch, the reasons listed for the flights included trips to official meetings, television interviews, public forums and truck inspections.

The state now faces its worst budget crunch in decades, and transportation officials have said their department needs more money to live up to its highway repair and construction obligations.

An audit of state government airplane use by the staff of State Auditor Claire McCaskill is due within the month.

Transportation Director Henry Hungerbeeler told The Kansas City Star that it was worth looking at plane travel cuts as part of an effort to save money, even though the trips are only a small part of his budget.