Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. Pub. Util. Comm'n,
346 U.S. 346 (1953)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. Pub. Util. Comm'n, 346 U.S. 346 (1953)

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. v.

Public Utilities Commission

Argued October 14, 1953

Decided November 9, 1953*

346 U.S. 346


The Public Utilities Commission of California entered orders, pursuant to a state statute, authorizing certain grade separation improvements, and requiring in each case that 50% of the costs be borne by the railroad. The improvements were designed to meet local transportation needs and to promote public safety and convenience, and were made necessary by the growth of the communities affected. There was no showing on the record in either case of arbitrariness or unreasonableness in the Commission's orders, and none was claimed except that the Commission refused to allocate costs on the basis of benefits to the railroads.

Held: the orders of the Commission are not arbitrary or unreasonable, and do not deprive the railroads of their property without due process of law, nor do they interfere unreasonably with interstate commerce. Pp. 346 U. S. 347-355.

(a) In sustaining the Commission's orders by denying writs of review, the State Supreme Court upheld the statute as applied by the Commission, and the cases are properly here on appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1257(2). Pp. 346 U. S. 348-349.

(b) The railroads were not entitled to have the costs of the improvements allocated only on the basis of benefits which will accrue to their property. Pp. 346 U. S. 352-354.

(c) Nashville, C. & St.L. R. Co. v. Walters, 294 U. S. 405, distinguished. Pp. 346 U. S. 353-354.

(d) The allocation of costs against the railroads in excess of benefits received did not constitute an undue burden on interstate commerce. P. 346 U. S. 355.


Page 346 U. S. 347

In each of these cases, the Public Utilities Commission of California entered orders authorizing certain grade separation improvements and allocating a share of the cost to the railroad. 51 Cal. P.U.C. 771, 788. The State Supreme Court denied review. On appeal to this Court, affirmed, p. 346 U. S. 355.

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