Fourth Circuit Holds that a Municipal Stormwater Management Assessment is a Fee and Not a Prohibited Railroad Tax

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Anthony B. Cavender discusses the case Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. City of Roanoke, et al.

April 22, 2019
Anthony B. Cavender - Gravel2Gavel

On February 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. City of Roanoke, et al.; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was an Intervenor-Defendant. The Fourth Circuit held that a large stormwater management fee (stated to be $417,000.00 for the year 2017) levied by the City of Roanoke against the railroad to assist in the financing of the City’s permitted municipal stormwater management system was a permissible fee and not a discriminatory tax placed on the railroad.

The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 specifically provides that states and localities may not impose any tax that discriminates against a rail carrier, 49 U.S.C. § 11501. Accordingly, the issue confronting the Fourth Circuit was whether the assessment was fee and not a tax.

Mr. Cavender may be contacted at anthony.cavender@pillsburylaw.com



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