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MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (05/30/79)

decided: May 30, 1979.

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, INTERVENOR. COUNTY OF YORK, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, INTERVENOR



Appeals from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Manchester Township v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Trustees of Penn Central Transportation Company, Columbia Gas Company, York Water Company, General Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Edison Company, York County, Complaint Docket No. 21727.

COUNSEL

Wayde P. Seidensticker, with him Seidensticker and Roe, for petitioner, Manchester Township.

Lewis P. Sterling, Solicitor, for petitioner, York County.

John J. Gallagher, with him Harvey S. Miller, Assistant Counsel, John B. Wilson, Assistant Counsel, and George M. Kashi, 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 Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 119]

The County of York (County) and Manchester Township (Township) both appeal from a decision of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) which ordered

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 120]

    them to share the cost of improvements to a highway-rail crossing. The cases have been consolidated for the purpose of this appeal.

On May 27, 1976, the Township filed a complaint with the PUC alleging that a crossing where a state highway passes underneath railroad tracks in the Township was inadequate and constituted a traffic hazard. The Township requested a complete reconstruction. Hearings were held by the PUC at which several witnesses for the Township testified as to the allegedly hazardous conditions of the crossing. The Department of Transportation (Department), an intervening party, filed an answer to the Township's complaint and presented evidence at the hearing to the effect that the crossing was not hazardous but merely inadequate and that the traffic congestion was due to improper planning and zoning by local public officials who had permitted the construction of an industrial park in close proximity to the underpass. The County appeared only at the initial hearing and requested to be dismissed as a party to the complaint, but its request was denied.

On December 8, 1977, the Administrative Law Judge of the PUC issued his proposed initial decision concluding that total reconstruction of the crossing was not warranted but that the Department should install and maintain signs reducing the speed limit in the area and should also install and maintain flashing light warning signals on both approaches to the crossing. It further directed the Department to perform a study on an alleged drainage problem at the site.*fn1 On December 27, 1977, the Department filed exceptions to the proposed initial decision in which it alleged that the Township and the County should be responsible

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 121]

    for the cost of the improvements and the future maintenance thereof because they had permitted the construction of the industrial park which contributed ...


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