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Bad weather grounds governor, state plane - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bad weather grounds governor, state plane

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SPRINGFIELD, Vt. -

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin missed the big ceremony for a record donation at UVM Friday because there was trouble with the state plane. He was stuck in Springfield.

Spokespeople for the Vermont Agency of Transportation say low clouds and dangerous winds grounded the governor's flight in the state plane.

In an email, spokesperson Sue Allen told WCAX News, "The Governor has used the plane off and on in recent years when it made sense given his schedule." But she opted not to say whether it has made sense more often since the governor's recent move from East Montpelier to Westminster.

The governor's use of the state plane has stirred controversy before. Back in 2013, transportation officials grounded the plane, citing safety concerns. That came just days after lawmakers rejected the governor's budget request for a new, $1.5 million plane and after the governor came under scrutiny for using the plane for both official and campaign-related business.

We're told mechanics overhauled the 50-year-old, four-seat Cessna a couple of years ago.

The chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Dick Mazza, told WCAX News he thought the plane was grounded and he was surprised to hear the governor has been using the plane. The influential Democrat says he doesn't see the purpose of the state plane in a state this small, never received a breakdown of what its repairs cost and would like to see an analysis of what it costs the state to fly the governor rather than drive him.

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