The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 1/22/9

State agencies scrambling to deal with budget cuts should start with the travel budget.

An investigation by the Sun Herald in Biloxi found the elected commissioners and executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation spent more than $200,000 on travel in the past four years.

MDOT Executive Director Butch Brown and Southern District Commissioner Wayne Brown spent the most. Director Brown spent $80,316 and Commissioner Brown (no relation) $69,187. Central District Commissioner Dick Hall has spent $12,638 and Northern District Transportation Commissioner Bill Minor spent $44,505. Wayne Brown and Butch Brown took trips out of the country, including Puerto Rico, Brussels, Budapest and Vienna. Wayne Brown even went Cancun.

Some state travel is necessary, but it is unlikely foreign trips by state highway officials make much sense to taxpayers taking day trips on bumpy Mississippi highways. In fact, a trip down a few state roads might be more educational than a conference at the beach.