State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, believes
the state should sell its fleet of executive aircraft. Mitchell
spoke at the Springfield Amtrak station, where he suggested the
governor and state employees use the Amtrak service between Chicago
"We're spending $4 million a year to fly the
governor and other top officials back and forth from Chicago to
Springfield," Mitchell said. "Instead of spending $3,000 an hour for
these flights, state officials should be taking Amtrak, especially
since it only costs $36 round trip."
The state of Illinois maintains a fleet of 16 aircraft, including
six executive aircraft, worth an estimated $22 million. The state
pays for daily air shuttles between Chicago and Springfield -- back
and forth in the morning and the evening. Mitchell is proposing
legislation to sell the state fleet, with the exception of aircraft
used by the Illinois State Police.
"I think taxpayers would be shocked to know that the state owns
an executive fleet of planes worth $22 million," Mitchell said.
"Gov. Quinn mentioned a green economy and green jobs eight different
times during his State of the State speech. I would suggest that if
the governor wants to truly be green, he should sell these expensive
aircraft and take the train."
Most other large states, including California, Florida and Texas,
don't fly daily shuttles for state employees. They only have flights
by appointment for the highest ranking officials. The state of New
York does not fly employees from the capital city, Albany, to New
"If it's good enough for these other big states, it's good enough
for Illinois," Mitchell said.
[Text from file sent on behalf of
Mitchell by Illinois
Senate Republican staff]