The Buzz

Missouri Highway Commission chair defends use of state plane to fly commissioners to meetings


Two weeks ago, Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich pointed out in an audit that the Missouri Transportation Commission could save money by requiring its commissioners to drive to meetings instead of using state planes to fly.

But commission chair Stephen Miller, a Kansas City lawyer, disagrees and defends the practice.

Miller told Bob Watson of the Jefferson City News Tribune that commissioners simply wouldn’t be able to get out around the state and meet Missourians if the practice was ended.

“Someone who (lives in) St. Joe is not going to be able to make the 7½- or 8-hour trip down to Hayti (in the Bootheel),” Miller explained. “So, it’s essential to the functioning of the commission, and we’re going to continue to use it as prudently as we deem necessary.”

Miller said MoDOT officials have explained all this to key lawmakers.

Although some lawmakers disagree, Miller said, “We have very talented people on this commission who run businesses, who give their time freely to Missourians.

“And we, as a commission, try to be respectful of that time — because, at the end of the day, we’ve determined that Missourians get a great bang for their buck from the commission — and the air travel is one way that we make that happen.”