Thursday, April 2, 2009

EZ Pass, Dormant Commerce Clause & Equal Protection Right to Travel

Picture 3

As a story in the New York Times reports:

An out-of-state driver crossing Narragansett Bay on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge must pay $1.75 with an E-ZPass transponder in the car, but Rhode Islanders, under a resident discount program introduced in January, pay just 83 cents with a transponder. (No break for anyone who pays cash.) Massachusetts has a similar program that reduces the cost of some bridge and tunnel tolls in Boston for those who live nearby.

And New York and New Jersey have similar discounting for state residents.  Such facts, as Con Law students should know, raise "dormant commerce clause" issues as well as a possible equal protection issue.  The NYT story has a link to the complaint filed in Massachusetts.

Could be a nice exam question.


Current Affairs, Dormant Commerce Clause, Fourteenth Amendment, Teaching Tips | Permalink

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