Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. City of Roanoke

Roanoke, Va. ordinance imposes stormwater utility charge upon properties with a certain amount of impervious surface—about 86 percent of the city’s parcels. Railroad: Our crushed-rock rail beds are as pervious as lawns, which are exempt from the charge. The rail beds should be exempt, too; the ordinance violates a federal law prohibiting discriminatory taxes against railroads. Fourth Circuit: Ah, but this is a fee, not a tax. Judge Wilkinson, concurring: The company is just trying to get out of paying its fair share for environmental remediation, and its position would threaten numerous cities’ clean-up schemes.

Tags: 2019, Fourth Circuit, Judge Wilkinson, Tax

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