The Distribution of Power to Regulate Interstate Carriers between the Nation and the States

By George G. Reynolds | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
It is a matter of economic necessity, too obvious for elaborate discussion, that the transportation of freight and passengers between points in the same state and between points in different states must be accomplished to a very large extent by physical agencies and instrumentalities used in common for interstate and intrastate transportation, such as tracks, public highways, motive power, vehicles, stations and terminals. These agencies of transportation and their owners, in the pursuit of their public calling, must be subject to the exercise of governmental powers arising from some source, either state or federal. Some jurisdiction must determine the extent, if any, to which they shall be subject to taxation, their rates, fares, service and business practices shall be regulated, and the public safety, health and welfare shall be protected from impairment by their activities.In the distribution of the exercise of power between the states and the nation there are three possible solutions from a purely academic standpoint:
1. Exclusive exercise of power over interstate carriers by the states.
2. Exclusive exercise of such power by the nation.
3. A division of its exercise between the states and the nation.

From the practical, as distinguished from the academic, standpoint, the first of these solutions must be summarily rejected. Not only is it contrary to the specific grant of power to regulate commerce conferred upon the federal gov-

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