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PHILADELPHIA v. SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (01/25/71)

decided: January 25, 1971.

PHILADELPHIA, PETITIONER,
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY



Appeal to review order of Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 38 of 1970, in case of City of Philadelphia v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

COUNSEL

Matthew W. Bullock, Jr., First Deputy City Solicitor, with him Levy Anderson, City Solicitor, for City of Philadelphia, petitioner.

Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr., with him Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, respondent.

Bell, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Barbieri took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 441 Pa. Page 519]

The City of Philadelphia here challenges a fare increase approved by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

In August and again in September of 1970, a greater than three-fourths majority of the SEPTA Board overrode the veto of two dissenting members representing the City of Philadelphia and approved certain fare increases designed to reduce or eliminate SEPTA's current operating deficit. The City of Philadelphia appealed

[ 441 Pa. Page 520]

    that decision to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, which determined that the adoption of the increased fares was based upon an error of law and constituted a manifest and flagrant abuse of discretion, and remanded the matter to SEPTA for action not inconsistent with its decision.

SEPTA thereafter filed an appeal in the Commonwealth Court, which the City moved to quash on the ground that the appeal had not been duly authorized. The Commonwealth Court denied the motion to quash and reversed the order of the Court of Common Pleas. On December 23, 1970, this Court allowed this appeal.

In this Court the City reiterates its argument that SEPTA's appeal in the Commonwealth Court should have been quashed for the reason that SEPTA's Chief Counsel had not been affirmatively and specifically authorized to prosecute such an appeal on SEPTA's behalf. In light of SEPTA's resolution to increase fares, its involuntary involvement in litigation instituted by the City to prevent the implementation of that resolution, the statutory duty of SEPTA's Chief Counsel to prosecute and defend all suits on SEPTA's behalf,*fn* and the absence of proof that the SEPTA Board disapproved of the appeal, there is no merit in this contention.

Although SEPTA has exclusive statutory authority to set rates,*fn** the City asserts that SEPTA manifestly and flagrantly abused its discretion in adopting this particular fare increase. In this respect, the City contends that SEPTA violated a provision of the lease agreement between it and the ...


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