Daniels hasn’t heard of the Holiday Inn

I’m not sure how I feel about Mitch Daniels defending his use of the State’s airplane:

Gov. Mitch Daniels on Monday defended his use of a state aircraft for a trip to Washington — a trip that was cut short Sunday when the plane’s windshield cracked.

The state Department of Administration said the plane costs $791 per hour for fuel, plus $184 in maintenance costs for each hour of flying time.

Daniels, who came to Washington for the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, said he had to use the state plane.

“I’m the cheapest date as a governor Indiana has ever had,” Daniels said, noting that he hadn’t even taken state troopers or other staff with him on the trip. “There was no commercial option that would have gotten me (to Washington on time). I would’ve had to come the night before and buy a hotel room and I don’t know what else.”

Asked whether it still might have been cheaper to fly commercial, even if that meant another night in a hotel, given the nearly $1,000 per hour cost of the state plane, Daniels said: “I have no idea.”

On the one hand, I don’t like the idea of my governor hanging around in hotels a day or two before and after a conference he┬álegitimately┬áneeds to attend. I’d rather he be here in Indiana and hoping that he can get some work done in the meantime. On the other hand, I don’t like the sound of a nearly $1,000 per hour trip. I think it’s two hours one way to D.C., so that’s $4,000 round trip. Even a conservative estimate pegs that number at $3,000.

On second thought, I do have an idea. How about the Governor pack his bags, a laptop, a bluetooth headset with cell phone and trek off to these things on Southwest. Then, when you land, get a room in a Holiday Inn.

I hear that, unlike Indy, D.C. has a decent subway system. Buy a $4 ticket and go to your meeting. There, I just saved Indiana $2,500.

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