A-5132, OCTOBER 8, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 366

A-5132: Oct 8, 1924

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BRIDGE TOLLS CHARGES IN THE NATURE OF TOLLS FOR THE USE OF A STATE-OWNED BRIDGE ARE NOT STATE TAXES WHICH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS EXEMPT FROM THE PAYMENT OF. ARE CHARGES FOR THE USE OF STATE PROPERTY AND ARE PAYABLE FROM FEDERAL FUNDS. 1924: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10. WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT THERE IS AUTHORIZED. YOU SUGGEST THAT THE PAYMENT OF TOLLS IS ANALOGOUS TO THE IMPOSITION OF A STATE TAX UPON FEDERAL-OWNED PROPERTY. THE TOLLS IN QUESTION ARE IMPOSED PURSUANT TO THE MARYLAND LAW OF APRIL 13. IT IS STATED: THERE IS NO ANALOGY BETWEEN THE IMPOSITION OF TAXES AND THE LEVYING OF TOLLS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF HIGHWAYS. TAXES ARE LEVIED FOR THE SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENT.

A-5132, OCTOBER 8, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 366

BRIDGE TOLLS CHARGES IN THE NATURE OF TOLLS FOR THE USE OF A STATE-OWNED BRIDGE ARE NOT STATE TAXES WHICH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS EXEMPT FROM THE PAYMENT OF, BUT ARE CHARGES FOR THE USE OF STATE PROPERTY AND ARE PAYABLE FROM FEDERAL FUNDS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO E. F. BATCHELOR, DISBURSING CLERK, OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT STATE, WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS BUILDINGS, OCTOBER 8, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1924, SUBMITTING, WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT THERE IS AUTHORIZED, A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF THE STATE ROADS COMMISSION OF MARYLAND, AGGREGATING $8.75, COVERING TOLL CHARGES FOR THE USE OF THE PERRYVILLE-HAVRE DE GRACE BRIDGE BY FIVE GOVERNMENT-OWNED MOTOR TRUCKS EN ROUTE FROM PERRYVILLE TO WASHINGTON, D.C. YOU SUGGEST THAT THE PAYMENT OF TOLLS IS ANALOGOUS TO THE IMPOSITION OF A STATE TAX UPON FEDERAL-OWNED PROPERTY.

THE TOLLS IN QUESTION ARE IMPOSED PURSUANT TO THE MARYLAND LAW OF APRIL 13, 1922, CHAPTER 494, WHICH PROVIDED FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE PERRYVILLE-HAVRE DE GRACE BRIDGE BY THE STATE, THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS IN PAYMENT THEREFOR, AND IN SECTION 9 PROVIDED FOR TOLL CHARGES AS FOLLOWS:

AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED: THAT FOR THE PURPOSE OF RAISING SUFFICIENT FUNDS TO PAY THE INTEREST ON THE SAID BONDS OR CERTIFICATES OF INDEBTEDNESS, AND TO ASSIST IN RETIRING THE PRINCIPAL OF SAID LOAN, THE STATE OF MARYLAND PLEDGES THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT AND FOR THESE AND THE FURTHER PURPOSE OF MAINTAINING SAID BRIDGE AND APPURTENANCES THERETO, THE STATE ROADS COMMISSION SHALL UPON ITS ACQUISITION CHARGE SUCH TOLLS TO THE USERS OF SAID BRIDGE FOR VEHICULAR TRAFFIC TO BE FIXED BY THE STATE ROADS COMMISSION OF MARYLAND BUT NOT TO EXCEED THE LIMITS HEREIN MENTIONED * * * COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRUCKS, NOT MORE THAN ONE TON CARRYING CAPACITY, LOADED OR EMPTY, AND DRIVER, 75 CENTS; * * * MORE THAN ONE TON AND NOT MORE THAN TWO TONS * * * 1; * * * MORE THAN TWO TONS AND NOT OVER THREE TONS * * * $1.50; * * * MORE THAN THREE TONS AND NOT OVER FOUR TONS * * * $2; * * * MORE THAN FOUR TONS AND NOT OVER FIVE TONS * * * $2.50.

IN THE CASE OF SANDS V. MANISTEE RIVER IMPROVEMENT COMPANY, 123 U.S. 288, 294, IT IS STATED:

THERE IS NO ANALOGY BETWEEN THE IMPOSITION OF TAXES AND THE LEVYING OF TOLLS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF HIGHWAYS; AND ANY ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY OR CONDEMN PROCEEDINGS IN THE ONE CASE, BY REFERENCE TO THOSE IN THE OTHER, MUST BE MISLEADING. TAXES ARE LEVIED FOR THE SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THEIR AMOUNT IS REGULATED BY ITS NECESSITIES. TOLLS ARE THE COMPENSATION FOR THE USE OF ANOTHER'S PROPERTY, OR IMPROVEMENTS MADE BY HIM; AND THEIR AMOUNT IS DETERMINED BY THE COST OF THE PROPERTY OR OF THE IMPROVEMENTS, AND CONSIDERATION OF THE RETURN WHICH SUCH VALUES OR EXPENDITURES SHOULD YIELD * * * .

SEE ALSO HUSE V. GLOVER, 119 U.S. 543, AND AUTHORITIES CITED IN 24 COMP. DEC. 45, IN WHICH THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN STATE TOLLS AND TAXES IS DISCUSSED AT LENGTH.

IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 3, 1921, THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AUTHORIZED THE PAYMENT OF TOLLS FOR THE USE OF A STATE-OWNED FERRY IN NEW YORK STATE. 96 MS. COMP. DEC. 312. IT IS APPARENT FROM THE AUTHORITIES CITED THAT THE PAYMENT OF TOLL CHARGES FOR THE USE OF A STATE-OWNED BRIDGE IS NOT THE PAYMENT OF A STATE TAX FROM WHICH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS EXEMPT.