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More Questions Over Mo. Highway Patrol's $5.6M Airplane Purchase

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers in the Missouri House and Senate continue to grill members of Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) administration as to why it was necessary to spend $5.6 million on a new airplane.

Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol told Senate budget writers on Wednesday that he made the call to buy the King Air 250.

“I’ve had conversations with both the Governor and members of his staff ever since I became Colonel...but none of those people sent a message that said, ‘order this plane today,’ Replogle told the Senate Appropriations Committee.  "That was my decision, the Patrol’s decision, up through DPS and (the Office of Administration), to purchase the plane when we did.”

Replogle says the Department of Public Safety had enough money to buy the plane in December because of a delay in purchasing a new fleet of patrol cars.  Meanwhile, budget writers in the Missouri House also questioned the Governor’s Chief of Staff, John Watson, about the purchase.  The new plane is available for law enforcement missions, but is used mostly by Governor Nixon for travel to public events around the state.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.