Lawmakers Approve Purchase of New Nebraska Airplane

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State officials are one step closer to being able to fly around in a new airplane.

Lawmakers passed a bill Monday that would allow the Department of Aeronautics to buy a new aircraft.

A legislative consultant has recommended buying a new twin-engine King Air model that can carry five passengers and two pilots. It would cost as much as $3.8 million, though money from other aircraft sales would likely reduce that cost. The plane would replace the state's current, 1982 Piper Cheyenne aircraft.

Last year, lawmakers rejected Gov. Dave Heineman's budget request to spend $2.5 million on a 2001 Beechcraft King Air, saying they hadn't yet studied the alternatives.