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U.S. Supreme Court

New Orleans Public Service, Inc. v. City of New Orleans, 281 U.S. 682 (1930)

New Orleans Public Service, Inc. v. City of New Orleans

No. 460

Argued April 30, 1930

Decided June 2, 1930

281 U.S. 682


Under authority contained in a city ordinance granting it a franchise to construct and operate a street railway along a city street,

Page 281 U. S. 683

a company constructed, upon plans approved by the city, a single-track viaduct for the passage of its cars over railroad tracks. When the viaduct had long been in use, was about to become inadequate, and was also unsafe and in need of extensive repairs, the city, by ordinance, required the company to remove it and to construct in its place double tracks at street level crossing the railroad.


1. The later ordinance purports merely to regulate the use of the streets for the convenience and safety of the public, and does not impair the company's franchise P. 281 U. S. 685.

2. The ordinance is presumed to be valid, and the burden is upon the company to show that, having regard to the facts disclosed by the record, removal of the existing viaduct and construction of the crossings are so clearly unreasonable and arbitrary as to amount to depriving the company of its property without due process of law. P. 281 U. S. 686.

3. The city, acting as the arm of the state, has a wide discretion in determining what precautions in the public interest are necessary or appropriate under the circumstances. Id.

4. Enforcement of uncompensated obedience to a regulation passed in the legitimate exertion of the police power is not a taking of property without due process of law. P. 281 U. S. 687.

5. The ordinance cannot, upon the evidence, be held unreasonable because of the expense involved to the company in the sacrifice of the viaduct and the construction of the new crossings. Id.

6. It is to be presumed, in support of the ordinance, that the city will make and enforce appropriate regulations to safeguard against collisions at the grade crossing. Id.

168 La. 983 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree affirming a decree for the City in its suit to require the appellant herein to remove a street railway viaduct and construct double tracks at street level across railroad tracks.

Page 281 U. S. 684

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