Lawmakers have begun a debate over whether to buy, lease or charter a new airplane for Nebraska state officials. The proposal discussed Wednesday would allow the state to acquire a plane to replace its 1982 Piper Cheyenne aircraft.
A legislative consultant recommends buying a new twin-engine King Air model that can carry five passengers and two pilots. It could cost as much as $3.8 million, though money from other aircraft sales would likely reduce that cost.
Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, a pilot and Air Force veteran, says the state should buy new because leasing and chartering could cost more over the long-term. Krist says a new plane would have better safety features and would retain more of its value after its recommended 20-year lifespan has expired.