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PORT AUTHORITY ALLEGHENY COUNTY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (07/19/79)

decided: July 19, 1979.

PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; COLONIAL TAXI COMPANY, INC. ET AL., INTERVENORS. PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; TUBE CITY TAXICAB COMPANY, INC. ET AL., INTERVENORS. PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; NORTH HILLS GREEN CAB COMPANY ET AL., INTERVENORS. PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; OPEN DOORS FOR THE HANDICAPPED, T/D/B/A MAGIC CARPET TRANSPORTATION FOR THE HANDICAPPED, INTERVENOR. PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT; THE YELLOW CAB COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, INTERVENOR



Appeals from the Orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Application of Colonial Taxi Co., Inc., Application Docket No. 80980, F.4; Application of Tube City Taxicab Company, Application Docket No. 81789, F.4; Application of North Hills Green Cab Company, Application Docket No. 83910, F.4; Application of Open Doors for the Handicapped, t/d/b/a Magic Carpet Transportation for the Handicapped, Application Docket No. 99895, F.1; and Application of The Yellow Cab Company of Pittsburgh, Application Docket No. 49926, F.6.

COUNSEL

Robert M. Brown, with him Dennis L. Veraldi, and Ruffin, Hazlett, Snyder, Brown & Jack, for petitioners.

Kenneth S. Siegel, Assistant Counsel, with him Alfred N. Lowenstein, Assistant Counsel, and Kathleen Herzog Larkin, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Arthur J. Diskin, with him Jerome Solomon; Richard S. Dorfzaun; Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote; William A. Gray ; and Wick, Vuono & Lavelle, for intervenors.

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

Author: Bowman

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 373]

These consolidated appeals are from orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) granting the application of various common carriers to engage in "paratransit" operations in Allegheny County.

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 374]

Prior to evidentiary hearings on the merits for each application, the Port Authority of Allegheny County (Authority) filed with the PUC motions to dismiss on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to grant a certificate of public convenience for such services. The Authority's position was, and continues to be, that the Second Class County Port Authority Act (Port Authority Act), Act of April 6, 1956, P.L. (1955) 1414, as amended, added by Section 13 of the Act of Oct. 7, 1959, P.L. 1266, as amended, 55 P.S. ยง 551 et seq., vests exclusive power in the Authority to establish an integrated system of mass transportation for the transportation of passengers for hire within Allegheny County including the type of service in controversy.

These motions to dismiss were denied by the PUC and the applications advanced through evidentiary hearings, and as to each of which the administrative law judge recommended granting the applications.

The Authority filed exceptions to each of these recommendations, objecting to the characterization of the Authority as a "protestant" in the proceedings as well as renewing its objections to the PUC's exercise of jurisdiction. The PUC concluded that paratransit service does not constitute mass transportation or group and party service, which the Authority is empowered to regulate pursuant to the Port Authority Act, dismissed the exceptions, and adopted the proposed decisions of the administrative law judges. Thereafter, the Authority took these appeals.

The PUC then filed motions to quash on the grounds that the Authority, as a "protestant" below, was not a "party" qualified under the concepts of standing to pursue these appeals. Upon consideration of these motions, and the Authority's answers thereto, we directed they be listed and argued at the same time as argument upon the merits.

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 375]

The PUC motion to dismiss the appeals on the theory that the Authority is not aggrieved because the PUC orders do not adversely affect the Authority within the meaning of Wm. Penn Parking Garage, Inc. v. City of Pittsburgh, 464 Pa. 168, 346 A.2d 269 (1975), is denied. Whether as a "protestant" or otherwise in the proceedings below the Authority participated and consistently asserted its exclusive jurisdiction and authority over the type of common carrier passenger transportation which was the subject of the proceedings before the PUC. The PUC reached a contrary conclusion finding it had jurisdiction to ...


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