Calif. analysts doubt Highway Patrol aircraft need

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Updated: 3/06/2014 9:34 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — State analysts are advising the Legislature not to fund the replacement of aging California Highway Patrol planes and helicopters until the force explains why it needs 26 new aircraft.

The recommendation came Thursday from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which in its review of Gov. Jerry Brown's 2014-15 transportation budget proposal questioned the CHP's need for a fleet that size.

The CHP has said its fleet is getting old enough that maintenance becomes costly and some aircraft risk being unsafe.

Lawmakers already approved $17 million in the current budget to start the process by buying three helicopters and one plane, though none has yet been acquired.

The analyst's office recommended freezing any purchases until the CHP justifies the need to keep the fleet near its current level of 30 aircraft.

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