Norfolk Southern Railway v. PUC

The issue on appeal before the Supreme Court in this case centered on the limits of the Public Utility Commission's (PUC) authority to allocate costs associated with a rail-highway crossing project. The Commonwealth Court held that the Commission could not allocate costs to a transportation utility that regularly uses a railroad-crossing site and does not own real estate or properties there. The Commission and Intervenors argued that the PUC has broad discretion not only to determine the allocation of costs to "concerned parties," but also to determine which parties are "concerned" in the first instance. Counterbalancing the Commission's and Intervenors' remarks about equities, Norfolk Southern Railway questioned why it should contribute to the remediation of deteriorating infrastructure over which it had no control. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that a transportation utility need not own facilities at a rail-highway crossing to be a concerned party for purposes of the PUC's cost-allocation jurisdiction and authority, at least where the utility conducts regular operations at the crossing and may enforce an easement-based right of way. View "Norfolk Southern Railway v. PUC" on Justia Law