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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (12/01/78)

decided: December 1, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public utility Commission in case of Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Reading Company, Borough of Conshohocken, Borough of West Conshohocken and County of Montgomery, No. 19707.

COUNSEL

George D. Wenick, Assistant Attorney General, with him Herbert G. Zahn, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General.

Candice N. Kreiger, Assistant Counsel, with her John B. Wilson, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Kathleen Herzog Larkin, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, DiSalle and MacPhail. Judges Crumlish, Jr. and Craig did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.

Author: Bowman

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 48]

Presently before us is the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's (PUC) motion to quash a petition for review filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 49]

For the reasons stated below, we dismiss the motion to quash.

The facts giving rise to PennDOT's petition for review are not in dispute and shall be only skeletally related. In September, 1972, PennDOT filed with the PUC a complaint alleging that a certain bridge in Montgomery County, carrying vehicular traffic over and above certain railroad tracks, was in a state of disrepair and requesting that the PUC approve PennDOT's plan of repair. In January, 1974, the PUC issued an order approving PennDOT's plan and directing PennDOT, at its initial cost and expense, to repair the bridge in accordance with said plan. In December, 1974, PennDOT filed with the PUC a petition seeking modification of the January, 1974 order, alleging, inter alia, that additional inspection of the bridge revealed such continued deterioration of the structure as to render the original plan of repair impracticable. After formal hearing, the PUC on October 21, 1975, granted PennDOT's modification petition and directed PennDOT to prepare and submit to the PUC, within twelve months of the service date of said order, a detailed plan and estimate of costs for the bridge's reconstruction.

On November 12, 1976, the Borough of Conshohocken -- which, because of its propinquity to the bridge, may participate in an allocation of reconstruction costs -- filed with the PUC a "letter petition" alleging that PennDOT had not complied with the October 21, 1975 order and praying that the PUC request the Attorney General to enforce said order against PennDOT. On December 16, 1976, PennDOT filed with the PUC a petition for modification of the October 21, 1975 order, in the nature of a time extension.

After public hearing on said letter petition and on PennDOT' petition, the PUC issued an order on

[ 39 Pa. Commw. Page 50]

November 22, 1977,*fn1 directing, inter alia, that PennDOT complete repairs to the bridge surface and adjacent sidewalks within sixty days of date of service of the order, and that PennDOT submit to the PUC detailed plans and estimates for costs of the bridge reconstruction within six months of said date of service. Also contained in the order was the following language: "Failure to strictly comply, within the time periods prescribed, shall result in the institution of legal proceedings against [PennDOT] for enforcement of this ...


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