Justia Transportation Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the City's motion for summary judgment in an action challenging the City's rules banning advertisements in for-hire vehicles (FHVs) absent authorization from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The district court concluded that the City's rules banning advertisements in for‐hire passenger vehicles, such as Ubers and Lyfts, violate the First Amendment, primarily because the City permits certain advertising in taxicabs. The court held that the City's prohibition on advertising in FHVs did not violate the First Amendment under the Central Hudson test. In this case, the City's asserted interest in improving the overall passenger experience is substantial, the prohibition "directly advances" that interest, and the prohibition was no more extensive than necessary to serve that interest. The court held that the City's determination that banning ads altogether is the most effective approach was reasonable. View "Vugo, Inc. v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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The town appealed the district court's grant of a permanent injunction barring it from enforcing an ordinance regulating hazardous substances and certain zoning bylaws against Vermont Railway in connection with the railway's road salt transloading facility. The Second Circuit affirmed and held that the ordinance did not meet the "police powers" exception to preemption by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA), because the ordinance imposed on rail activity restrictions that did not meaningfully protect public health and safety. Therefore, the ordinance was preempted by the ICCTA. The court held that, to the extent the town challenged the district court's ruling that the railway's activities did not constitute "transportation by rail carrier," the challenge was dismissed based on lack of jurisdiction. View "Vermont Railway, Inc. v. Town of Shelburne" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit granted consolidated petitions for review of a final rule published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indefinitely delaying a previously published rule increasing civil penalties for noncompliance with Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The court held that the agency lacked statutory authority to indefinitely delay the effective date of the rule. Furthermore, the agency, in promulgating the rule, failed to comply with the requirements of notice and comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. Accordingly, the court vacated the rule. View "Natural Resources Defense Council v. National Highway Traffic Safety Admin." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a claim alleging that the New York State Thruway Authority violated the Dormant Commerce Clause when it used surplus revenue from highway tolls to fund the State of New York's canal system. The court held that Congress evinced an "unmistakably clear" intent to authorize the Thruway Authority to depart from the strictures of the Dormant Commerce Clause by allocating surplus highway toll revenues to New York's Canal System. The court explained that Congress placed no limits on the amount of such surplus highway toll revenue that the Thruway Authority could allocate to the Canal System. Finally, the court held that the district court had discretion to reach the merits of the Thruway Authority's defense that Congress had authorized it to devote surplus highway toll revenues to the Canal System. View "American Trucking Ass'ns, Inc. v. N.Y. State Thruway Authority" on Justia Law