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U.S. Supreme Court

Capitol Greyhound Lines v. Brice, 339 U.S. 542 (1950)

Capitol Greyhound Lines v. Brice

No. 118

Argued December 5, 1949

Decided May 15, 1950

339 U.S. 542


Section 25A of Art. 66 1/2 of Maryland Annotated Code (1947 Cum.Supp.) imposes a tax of 2% of the fair market value of motor vehicles as a condition precedent to the issuance of certificates of title thereto and to the operation of the vehicles over Maryland roads. This tax is applied indiscriminately to interstate and intrastate common carriers transporting passengers over Maryland roads, and the proceeds are used wholly for road purposes. For the privilege of using its roads, Maryland also charges common carriers a mileage tax for each passenger seat of 1/30 of a cent per mile traveled on Maryland roads.


1. As applied generally to interstate carriers transporting passengers over Maryland roads, the title tax of 2% of fair market value does not violate the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 339 U. S. 543-548.

(a) Such a tax must be judged by its result, not by its formula, and must stand unless proven to be in excess of fair compensation for the privilege of using the roads. Pp. 339 U. S. 544-547.

(b) The title tax is not invalid on the ground that it varies for each carrier without relation to road use. Pp. 339 U. S. 545-546.

(c) If a new rule prohibiting taxes on interstate carriers measured by vehicle value is to be declared, it should be declared by Congress, not by this Court. Pp. 339 U. S. 547-548.

2. The record in this case is insufficient to invalidate the tax, as applied to appellants, on the ground that the taxes actually levied are in excess of a fair compensation for the privilege of using Maryland roads. P. 339 U. S. 548.

___ Md. ___, 64 A.2d 284, affirmed.

The case is stated in the first two paragraphs of the opinion. The judgment below is affirmed, p. 339 U. S. 548.

Page 339 U. S. 543

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