Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Department of Highways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Union Railroad Company, City of Duquesne and County of Allegheny, No. 18922.
Louis G. Cocheres, Assistant Attorney General, with him Herbert G. Zahn, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, for appellant.
R. Knickerbocker Smith, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him Edward J. Morris, Counsel, for appellee.
Sheldon L. Keyser, Assistant County Solicitor, with him Stephen A. Zappala, County Solicitor, for intervening appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 409]
This is an appeal from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) allocating the costs of the repair and restoration of the bridge structure carrying State Highway Route 736 Extension over Thompson Run in the City of Duquesne, Allegheny County, and directing the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Department) to perform maintenance on the bridge and its approaches in the future. The Commission ordered that the $189,375.35 costs of repair and restoration be borne 60% by the Department, 30% by Allegheny County, and 10% by the City of Duquesne.
A partial history of this case is contained in the opinion of Judge Mencer in support of our order of remand to the Commission for specific findings of fact in Commonwealth v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and County of Allegheny, 18 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 160, 335 A.2d 539 (1975). That history may be supplemented by noting that on October 19, 1926 the then Pennsylvania Public Service Commission issued an order placing the responsibility for the maintenance of the bridge in question upon the County of Allegheny, with 40% of the cost of such maintenance to be reimbursed by the City of Duquesne; and that on or about May 1, 1962, pursuant to the Act of September 18, 1961, P.L. 1389, as amended, 36 P.S. § 1758-101 et seq., the bridge was taken over by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 410]
The action of the Commonwealth in taking the bridge was preceded by the filing with the Department of a resolution of the Commissioners of Allegheny County consenting to the transfer, which recited that the County had theretofore maintained the bridge, that all contracts for the improvement thereof had been completed and that henceforth the bridge should be maintained, repaired and constructed as other State highways.
In compliance with our order of remand, the Commission has made findings of fact as directed and adhered to the substantive provisions of its earlier order allocating costs and imposing the duty of future maintenance on the Commonwealth. The Department has again appealed, presenting four questions for our consideration and disposition:
The Department contends that the Act of September 18, 1961, P.L. 1389, as amended, 36 P.S. § 1758-101 et seq., does not transfer to the Commonwealth, with respect to bridges located in Third Class Cities, the obligation of future maintenance in cases where earlier Commission orders have imposed the duty of maintenance on counties, and, alternatively, that the Act in all cases ...