Despite legislative expectations that NDSU would be selling their airplane, they haven’t yet and instead are using it to fly back and forth to Bismarck to lobby legislators for bigger budgets.
NDSU officials routinely complain that their university is underfunded, but that’s a little hard to buy given how much money they spend on private flights to and from Bismarck to tell that sad-but-not-very-accurate story.
In the first week of the legislature “Air Bison” made a trip to Bismarck and Back, costing an estimated $8,400 (based on the AP’s estimate of hourly flying costs for the plane).
This week NDSU has used the plane to make two trips to Bismarck and back. According to the FAA, a trip to Bismarck and back again on January 22nd took about 1.46 hours. This morning’s flight to Bismarck took about 54 minutes. Assuming a roughly 45 minute return trip, we come up with $13,253 in travel costs to and from Bismarck this week.
Adding that to the cost of the first week’s trip, we come up with $21,653 in travel expenses for NDSU and other higher education officials to travel from Fargo to Bismarck and back three times.
Because spending tens of thousands in airplane costs to save a few hours of travel for a group of pampered bureaucrats is cost effective in the world of higher education apologism.