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U.S. Supreme Court

American Trucking Assns., Inc. v. United States, 355 U.S. 141 (1957)

American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. United States

No. 6

Argued October 23, 1957

Decided December 9, 1957*

355 U.S. 141


1. In this proceeding under § 207(a) of the Interstate Commerce Act, wherein a motor carrier subsidiary of a railroad sought a certificate permitting it to provide ordinary motor carrier service at or near the parent railroad's line, the Interstate Commerce Commission was not required by § 5(2)(b) and the National Transportation Policy to restrict such motor carrier service to that which is auxiliary to, or supplemental of, the parent railroad's services. Pp. 355 U. S. 143-144, 355 U. S. 147-152.

(a) Section 207 makes no reference to the phrase "service . . . in its operations" used in § 5(2)(b), nor is there any language even suggesting a mandatory limitation to service which is auxiliary or supplementary. P. 355 U. S. 149.

(b) The legislative history of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 gives no indication that § 213(a)(1), the predecessor of § 5(2)(b) of the present Act, was to be considered as a limitation on applications under § 207. P. 355 U. S. 149.

(c) In interpreting § 207, the Commission has accepted the policy of § 5(2)(b) as a guiding light, not as a rigid limitation. Pp. 355 U. S. 149-150.

(d) Congress did not intend the rigid requirement of § 5(2)(b) to be considered as a limitation on certificates issued under § 207. P. 355 U. S. 150.

(e) This holding is not contrary to United States v. Rock Island Motor Transit Co., 340 U. S. 419, or United States v. Texas & Pacific Motor Transport Co., 340 U. S. 450. P. 355 U. S. 151.

(f) The underlying policy of § 5(2)(b) must not be divorced from proceedings for new certificates under § 207, and the Commission must take "cognizance" of the National Transportation Policy and apply the Act "as a whole"; but the Commission does

Page 355 U. S. 142

not act beyond its statutory authority when, in the public interest, it occasionally departs from the auxiliary and supplementary limitations in a § 207 proceeding. Pp. 355 U. S. 151-152.

2. In this case, the Commission has not permitted the § 207 proceedings to be used as a device to evade the restrictions previously imposed in the acquisition proceedings under § 5(2)(b). P. 355 U. S. 152.

3. In this case, the evidence was sufficient to support the Commission's finding of public convenience and necessity and its issuance of the certificate. Pp. 355 U. S. 152-154.

(a) Public need for the motor carrier's operation in truckload traffic in this case can be grounded to some extent on the need for it operation in "peddle traffic," since economic justification for carrying on a costly peddle operation depends on combining it with a more lucrative truckload operation. Pp. 355 U. S. 153-154.

(b) While railroads are not allowed to enter the motor trucking industry primarily to build an independently profitable trucking operation, there is no foundation in the Act for so construing § 207 as to require that any railroad operation in the motor trucking field be unprofitable. P. 355 U. S. 154.

(c) If the unrestricted operations permitted in this case are destructive of competition or otherwise detrimental to the public service, the situation would not be without remedy, since the Commission has reserved continuing jurisdiction which will enable it to make certain that the unlimited certificate issued here does not operate to defeat the National Transportation Policy. P. 355 U. S. 154.

4. In this case, railway labor organizations representing employees of the parent railroad had standing under §§ 17(11) and 205(h) of the Act to sue to set aside the Commission's order. P. 355 U. S. 144.

144 F.Supp. 365 affirmed.

Page 355 U. S. 143

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