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U.S. Supreme Court

Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v. Board of Comm'rs, 332 U.S. 495 (1947)

Aero Mayflower Transit Co. v.

Board of Railroad Commissioners of Montana

No. 39

Argued October 15, 1947

Decided December 8, 1947

332 U.S. 495


Appellant, a foreign corporation engaged exclusively in interstate transportation of freight by motor trucks and doing a continuous and substantial amount of such business in Montana, challenged the validity under the Commerce Clause of two Montana taxes on all interstate and intrastate motor carriers operating there: (1) a flat tax of $10 for each vehicle operated over the State's highways, and (2) a "gross revenue" tax which, as applied to the appellant, amounted to an additional flat fee of $15 per vehicle. The taxes are imposed expressly "in consideration of the use of the highways of this state" and "in addition to all other licenses, fees and taxes imposed upon motor vehicles in this state."


1. As applied to appellant, the taxes do not violate the Federal Constitution. Pp. 332 U. S. 501-507.

2. This Court is bound by the state court's construction of the tax statute as applying alike to interstate and intrastate commerce, and of "gross operating revenue" as comprehending only such revenue as is derived from appellant's operations within Montana. Pp. 332 U. S. 499-500.

3. The fact that the proceeds of the taxes go into the State's general fund, subject to appropriation for general state purposes, does not render them invalid. Pp. 332 U. S. 502-505.

4. The taxes are levied as compensation for the use of the highways, and not on the privilege of doing interstate business. P. 332 U. S. 505.

5. It is immaterial that the State imposes two taxes, rather than one, or that appellant pays other taxes which in fact are devoted to highway maintenance. Pp. 332 U. S. 501-507.

119 Mont. 118, 172 P.2d 452, affirmed.

A state court of Montana sustained one of two state taxes as applied to appellant, and enjoined appellant from operating within the State until the tax was paid.

Page 332 U. S. 496

The Supreme Court of Montana upheld both taxes as applied to appellant. 119 Mont. 118, 172 P.2d 452. Affirmed., p. 507.

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