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NEW MEXICO V. UNITED STATES TRUST CO., 172 U. S. 171 (1898)

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U.S. Supreme Court

New Mexico v. United States Trust Co., 172 U.S. 171 (1898)

New Mexico v. United States Trust Company

No. 106

Argued October 25-26, 1898

Decided December 5, 1898

172 U.S. 171

Syllabus

The provision in Sec. 2 of the Act of July 27, 1866, c. 278, 14 Stat. 292, 294, which exempts from taxation within the territories of the United States the right of way granted by the act to the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company operates to exempt from such taxation the land itself to the extent to which it is made by the act subject to such right of way, and all structures erected thereon.

In so deciding, the Court does not question the rule of construction declared in Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific Railroad v. Thomas, 116 U. S. 665, and followed in Yazoo &c. Railroad v. Thomas, 132 U. S. 174; Wilmington & Weldon Railroad v. Alsbrook, 146 U. S. 279; Keokuk & Western Railroad v. Missouri, 152 U. S. 301; Norfolk & Western Railroad v. Pendleton, 156 U. S. 667, and Covington &c. Turnpike Co. v. Sandford, 169 U. S. 578, but rests the present decision simply on the terms of the statute.

This case was begun by the filing in the District Court for Bernalillo County, in the Territory of New Mexico, by the district attorney for the territory, of an intervening petition on behalf of the territory, praying for an order against the receiver of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company requiring him to pay the amount of taxes claimed to be due upon the improvements on the right of way of said railroad company in the County of Bernalillo, and upon stationhouses and other improvements at seven different stations in said county. The taxes claimed were for the years 1893, 1894, and 1895.

The case was submitted upon the following agreed statement of facts:

"For the purposes of the hearing to be had upon the intervening petition of the Territory of New Mexico in the above-entitled cause and answers thereto of C. W. Smith, the receiver of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company, and the United States Trust Company, it is hereby stipulated and agreed by

Page 172 U. S. 172

and between said above-named parties that the following facts shall be accepted and received by the judge or court in determining the questions involved as the facts in the case:"

"That on and prior to January 1, 1892, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company, under the provisions of its charter, definitely located its line of road and right of way through Bernalillo County, which said right of way so located involved all necessary grounds for station buildings, workshops, depots, machine shops, switches, side tracks, turntables, and water stations. That upon said right of way so located through the City of Albuquerque, in said county, were definitely located necessary grounds for station buildings, workshops, depots, machine shops, side tracks, turntables, and water stations, and there were also located upon said right of way at the Atlantic and Pacific Junction at Chaves or Mitchell, at Coolidge, at Wingate, at Gallup, and at Manuelito, necessary grounds for station buildings, work shops, depots, machine shops, switches, side tracks, turntables, and water stations."

"That thereafterwards and prior to 1893, there was built and constructed upon said right of way by the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company from a point of junction with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company at Isleta, fifteen miles south of Albuquerque, a railroad along said right of way from said junction point to the Colorado River, in the Territory of Arizona. That the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company has, under an agreement with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company, occupied and used the tracks of the last-named company between the junction of the two railroads at Isleta and the City of Albuquerque as and for the railroad of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company to the extent that its business required the use and operation of such railroad for itself, or, in other words, under contract between the two companies, the railroad of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company through the City of Albuquerque to the junction at Isleta, a distance of about fifteen miles, is jointly used by the two railroad companies; said railroad running through the reservations for machine shops, etc., aforesaid, of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company at

Page 172 U. S. 173

Albuquerque. That the right of way so located by the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company and upon which it built its railroad, as aforesaid, runs through Bernalillo County, and is situated in Bernalillo County, as follows:"

"Commencing at the A. & P. Junction referred to, it runs thence, in a westerly direction, 4 miles 3,780 feet, to the division line between Bernalillo County and Valencia County, and then, after crossing a portion of Valencia County at a point known as 'Station 5,247,' it again runs through Bernalillo County 68 miles and 44 feet to the west line of the County of Bernalillo, being the west line of the Territory of New Mexico, which said right of way, outside of the reservation for station grounds, etc., was located and is of the width of 200 feet, being 100 feet on each side of the center of the railroad track located thereon."

"That in due time, the former receivers of the property of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company appointed by this court returned to the Assessor of Bernalillo County, as property belonging to said railroad company, taxable in said county, certain property, which was and is described in said returns as follows, to-wit:"

"List of personal property belonging to, claimed by, or in the possession or under the control of, the receivers of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company (Western Division), a corporation created by act of Congress, having its principal place of business at Albuquerque, New Mexico."

"The line of its road running through the Counties of Bernalillo and Valencia, in said Territory of New Mexico; thence through the Counties of Apache, Navajo, Coconino, Yavapai, and Mohave, in the Territory of Arizona, to the eastern boundary line of the State of California; thence through the Counties of San Bernardino and Kern, in said state, to the western end of said line, and its terminus at Mojave, in said County of Kern -- a total distance of 805.86 miles, the total mileage of said line owned by said company in said Territory of New Mexico being 166.6, of which 73.142 are in Bernalillo County and 93.458 miles are in Valencia County."

"And the receivers of the property of said company

Page 172 U. S.>

"And the receivers of the property of said company

Page 172 U. S.