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U.S. Supreme Court

Kansas City Southern Ry. Co. v. Road Dist., 266 U.S. 379 (1924)

Kansas City Southern Railway Company v.

Road Improvement District No. 3 of Sevier County, Arkansas

No. 33

Argued May 1, 1924

Decided December 15, 1924

266 U.S. 379


1. An act of a state legislature, consistent with the state constitution, requiring that the cost of a public road improvement be distributed over private lands according to the benefits they will respectively receive from it, and determining what lands will be so benefited and in what amounts, cannot be said to offend the due process of law clause of the Fourteenth Amendment unless the determination chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 266 U. S. 380

is palpably arbitrary, and therefore a plain abuse of power. P. 266 U. S. 386.

2. And only where there is manifest and unreasonable discrimination in fixing the benefits which the several parcels will receive can the legislative determination be said to contravene the equal protection clause of the Amendment. Id.

3. To justify an assessment of benefits to particular lands, it is not essential that the benefits be direct or immediate, but it is essential that they have a better basis than mere speculation or conjecture. P. 266 U. S. 387.

4. In the case of railway property, the benefits may consist of gains from increased traffic reasonably expected to result from the improvement. Id.

5. A special act, confirming existing assessment and recognized by the supreme court of the state as a legislative determination of the land which will be benefited by the improvement and of the proportions in which they will share in the benefit, must be treated by this Court as an admissible legislative assessment of benefits so far as the state constitution is concerned. Id.

156 Ark. 116 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Arkansas which affirmed a judgment sustaining a special road improvement assessment made against property of the plaintiff in error railroad company. A petition for certiorari was also made here, which the Court denied.

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