Will New Mexico's Governor Get a New Plane?

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Speaking of politics, that's what appears to stand in the way of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's (D) getting a new King Air. And the details won't surprise the average corporate aviation manager who has to deal with his own internal bureaucracy. After soliciting as many as six bids, Richardson's administration is in the throes of completing a deal to buy a new plane as early as next week. But Republicans in the state legislature, which must approve the deal since it would be funded with as much as $4 million in state highway money, are balking. The state presently owns three turboprops and would use the new plane to replace a 1966-vintage Aero Commander. According to the published reports, Richardson's staff wants a pressurized turboprop seating at least nine passengers and has narrowed its search to one of two Beechcraft King Air 350s. The wire service quoted House Minority Leader Ted Hobbs, an Albuquerque Republican, as saying, "I haven't seen any justification that we need another plane. He has got a squadron already. I just don't see the need to step out and buy a new plane."