Original jurisdiction in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in the case of American Trucking Associations, Inc., and Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., and Anderson Trucking Service, Inc., individually and on behalf of a class of interstate motor carriers v. Robert K. Bloom, Secretary of the Department of Revenue of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Daniel F. Dunn, Commissioner of the State Police of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, challenging the constitutionality of Section 2101 of the Vehicle Code, and requesting that enforcement of the same be enjoined.
Thomas A. Schneider, with him Arthur R. Littleton and Frank J. Napolitano, Jr., Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for petitioners.
LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, with him Maura A. Johnson. Deputy Attorney General, Robert B. Hoffman, Deputy Attorney General, and Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Attorney General, Chief of Special Litigation Section, for respondents.
Judge Williams, Jr. Memorandum Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 577]
Petitioner, American Trucking Associations, Inc. and two foreign-based motor carriers,*fn1 challenge, in this original action, the constitutionality of Section 2102(b) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 2102(b), which required for years beginning the first of April 1981 and 1982, that motor carrier vehicles (vehicles)*fn2 operating in Pennsylvania each bear an identification marker issued by Respondent Secretary of Revenue upon payment of $25.00. Petitioners further seek the refunding of all marker decal fees paid by class members for the year beginning April 1, 1982, in accordance with the Stipulation of the parties dated February 25, 1982.
On June 18, 1980, Title 75 of the Vehicle Code was amended by Section 4 of the Act 1980-68 which added, inter alia, the requirement that an identification marker be affixed to every motor carrier vehicle subject to the provisions of the Motor Carriers Road Tax Act (Act).*fn3 Although the amendments mandate that
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 578]
a marker decal be provided "for every motor carrier vehicle," only foreign-registered vehicles are required to bear the marker decals since Pennsylvania-registered vehicles provide the Commonwealth notice that they are subject to the Act through their registration. Respondents' Memorandum of Law at 3 n.6. Operation of a motor carrier vehicle, without an identification marker, in the Commonwealth, is unlawful. Section 2102(d) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 2102(d).
Before Section 1 of the Act of December 8, 1982, P.L. 842, No. 234 amended Section 2102(b) of the Vehicle Code lowering the marker decal fee to $5.00 effective April 1, 1983,*fn4 Section 2102(b) provided:
(b) Fee. -- The fee for issuance of an identification marker shall be $25, except that for vehicles registered in this Commonwealth, the vehicle identification marker fee shall be deemed a part of and included in the vehicle registration fee.
The marker decal levy is a tax imposed for the privilege of using Pennsylvania roads. One-fifth of the tax pays the administrative costs of issuing a decal, the remainder is expended for highway maintenance and construction. Unlike the owners of foreign-registered vehicles who actually paid the $25.00 marker decal fee for ...