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Blunt ends freeze on new state cars

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU / AP

Jefferson City, MO – Gov. Matt Blunt has reversed the state's freeze on buying new vehicles that he put in place two years ago.

He says it's now necessary to purchase new cars, trucks and vans for state agencies to use. "What we're talking about is replacing some extremely high-mileage vehicles," Blunt said Wednesday. "I believe I don't remember the number, I think it's over a 150,000 miles on each of those vehicles."

The governor's executive order affects one out of five vehicles bought with general state tax dollars. It does now, however, include Highway Patrol cars or vehicles from the Department of Conservation or MO-DOT, which are funded by separate revenue sources.

Blunt is requesting $2.4 million in next year's budget to buy more than 450 new vehicles.

Mark Kaiser, who oversees the office that manages the state's vehicle fleet, says if nothing is done by the end of the year, the average mileage on state vehicles will be 118,000 miles.