Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation is getting ready to sell two planes and a helicopter that legislative investigators say are not used enough to justify their expense.
Selling the aircraft and replacing them with newer, more cost-effective planes will save the state $500,000 per year, according to a DOT news release.
“Consistent with the governor’s focus on efficiency, we are always looking for better ways to use resources and collaborate to improve our operations,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in the release. “Selling our aircraft to build a more efficient fleet will ensure we continue the important work of the NCDOT in a more cost-effective way.”
The first phase of the plan will be to sell a Cessna Citation Bravo Jet and a Sikorsky helicopter. These aircraft are used by the Commerce Department in recruiting companies to the state and by the governor and other high-ranking state officials when they travel. They are also used to survey for new road construction and to transport officials during disasters.
The state plans to buy a new turbo-prop aircraft and a Bell helicopter with the proceeds from the sale. A third plane will also be sold and replaced by a smaller turbo-prop plane.
A 2011 WRAL Investigates story found that some state aircraft, including the helicopter slated to be sold, were rarely flown. In 2012, the General Assembly's Program Evaluation Division advised that the state should sell the helicopter because it was not used frequently.