Jet Sale Could Rejuvenate Highway Patrol's Fleet

Now that the state of Mississippi has sold its Cessna Citation V Ultra jet for $2 million, legislators will be asked to approve buying 78 new vehicles for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

The state of Mississippi has sold its Cessna Citation V Ultra jet for $2 million and plans are to spend that money on 78 new vehicles for the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Gov. Phil Bryant approved the sale April 4 and said he'll ask state legislators to approve the vehicle purchases.

Patrol leaders said this month that 123 of their 317 enforcement vehicles have been driven more than 100,000 miles, and 15 others have more than 90,000 miles on their odometers. "These cars are a trooper's most important tool of the trade, but the aging fleet puts the officer and the motoring public at risk," Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz said.

"We are grateful to the governor and all those involved in the effort to make funds available to replace our aging fleet of vehicles," he continued. "In these difficult economic times, Governor Bryant has demonstrated the necessary vision to seek alternative financing for vital equipment."

Troopers drive an average of 3,500 miles per month, so the mileage rises fast. And MHP will participate for the 11th year in the "Click It or Ticket" enforcement campaign in May, which underscores the need for dependable cars, according to the agency.

"I am pleased that we have turned what was a non-essential expense into much-needed funding that can be directed to a priority area such as the Mississippi Highway Patrol," the governor said.

Bryant directed the sale of the jet in his Fiscal Year 2013 Executive Budget Recommendation, saying the state did not need two planes. The state owns a King Air 350 that is adequate for statewide travel, he said.

Clayton Leasing, Inc. of Houston, Miss., bought the jet.

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