NORFOLK -- We've all seen the signs wanting us to believe our speed is being enforced by aircraft. But does anyone really believe the state watches along the highway, telling us our speed uses this sky-high traffic trap?
"It cost too much. I just don't believe that's real," one driver told 13News.
State police told us Aerial Speed Enforcement Operations save lives. They can nab some the most dangerous drivers and make the roads safer for troopers.
"I would like to see it brought back," State Police Sgt. Michelle Anaya said.
Anaya added with summer here, troopers are seeing a lot of bad drivers.
"We're seeing more overturned vehicles, more entrapments, and that which is caused by speed." Anaya said.
While Aerial Speed Enforcement Operations save lives, 13News Investigators found the patrols only have been used only once in Virginia in recent years. That's because of budget cuts. Troopers say they don't have the money for the flights, nor the manpower to staff them.
Yet, with the program grounded and no plans to use it in the future, we still found the state is spending thousands of dollars of your money to paint highway lines and replace and maintain pricey signs. Right now, VDOT is spending $29,000 to paint highway lines, and the state has more than $435,000 dollars invested in highway signs.
So who's requesting the road work? VDOT says they do it as a directive from state police. State police say they didn't mandate the work.
Which brings us to this little tidbit: While the state can't afford $90 an hour to use state planes to get dangerous drivers off the roads, we learned that last year, the state spent $20,000 of your money to use state planes to count ducks and other waterfowl.
"That's silly. That's definitely a problem," a woman told us.
"They shouldn't be wasting their money on stuff like that," another angry taxpayer said.
Back in 2010 when state police used aerial speed enforcements, they wrote 53 summonses in one operation.