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SPRINGFIELD — More than a year after former Gov. Pat Quinn floated the idea as a populist cost-cutting move, Illinois has sold the last of its surplus aircraft.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday announced four planes and one helicopter were unloaded at a price reduced from last year's failed attempt to sell part of the fleet.

The total take of more than $2.5 million was lower what had been sought during Quinn's tenure, but Rauner said the state would save an estimated $1 million by avoiding the cost of inspections and repairs.

“The successful sale of the state’s surplus aircraft is some much-needed good news for taxpayers,” Rauner said.

Under Quinn, nine of the state's aircraft were ordered to be sold. But, after three auctions, five of the aircraft remained unsold.

Although Rauner credited the latest sale to improved marketing of the aircraft, the lower price tag on some of them also may have helped.

For example, a 2000 Beechcraft King Air was sold for $1.7 million, down from the $2.49 million it was being offered for in 2014.

A 1991 Sikorsky helicopter sold for $515,161, down from last year's minimum bid of $933,000.

"The new sales plan helped maximize the return on investment for Illinois taxpayers, pushing total revenues from the sales of the aircraft to more than 90% of the estimated average value, for a total value of more than $2.5 million," a statement noted.

Other planes sold include: a 1979 Cessna C337H for $56,000; a 1986 Cessna C182R for $54,161; and, a 1985 Cessna C421C for $181,140.

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kurt.erickson@lee.net|(217) 782-4043

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Springfield Bureau Chief for the Herald & Review

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