Stouffer bill seeks authority for MoDOT to go to court

Since 1999, Missouri’s Transportation Department must go to binding arbitration with a panel of three arbiters, if “the plaintiff in a negligence action against” the department asks for that arbitration.

Eleven years ago, the state Supreme Court upheld that requirement as constitutional.

“What happens is, if someone has a really strong case (against MoDOT), they go to court,” state Sen. Bill Stouffer told colleagues on the Senate’s Transportation Committee last week. “If they have a weak case, they go to binding arbitration (and) MoDOT has no choice in it.”

And it’s costing the Transportation Department money that could be used elsewhere.

“The costs of the awards, since this has been put into effect, have almost quadrupled,” Stouffer said, “prior to the law being passed.”

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