Supreme Court will hear Michigan truck fee case

| 1/28/2005

A 10-year-old legal battle over Michigan’s pricey flat fee on trucks was recently re-energized when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the argument in two of three pending appeals. Press reports estimate about $70 million is at stake in the latest challenge.

In the case of ATA vs. the Michigan Public Service Commission, the high court will decide whether the $100 fee upon vehicles conducting intrastate operations violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Because the fee is imposed on all trucks doing business in Michigan – including trucks engaged in interstate commerce – the American Trucking Association argues the fee affects interstate commerce and thus violates the Commerce Clause. 

In a second challenge – Mid-Con Freight Systems vs. the Michigan Public Service Commission -- the Supreme Court will decide whether the $100 fee upon vehicles operating solely in interstate commerce is preempted by Section 40 of the U.S. Code 14504, the federal law defining the Single State Registration System. The SSRS was created by Congress in 1991 and limits participating states to a $10 annual fee.

According to ATA’s Litigation Center, oral arguments before the court are scheduled for April.