The State of Michigan lost a U.S. Supreme Court case yesterday that accused the state of overcharging truckers who use state roads.
Without a dispute, justices sided with Yellow Corp.'s Yellow Freight System subsidiary, which had contested the $10 fees the state required it to pay for registering vehicles that have Illinois license plates.
Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor said in the ruling that if Michigan won, other states could have raised registration fees for all trucking companies.
As a result, Michigan could have to repay $425,000 and stop charging fees for the trucks.
"To the industry, it is a very good result because it affects all truckers and trucking companies," said Yellow Corp. senior vp Daniel Churay.
At issue was the court's interpretation of a federal law that bans states from charging higher fees than they did in 1991. That year Congress passed the law that said states could not raise truck registration fees "collected or charged" as of November 15, 1991.
Michigan had such an agreement not to charge fees for trucks with Illinois license plates. But in September 1991, the state changed the policy and said the trucking companies had to have their principal place of business in Illinois, not just a license plate from the state, to qualify for the waiver in 1992. States are allowed to charge up to $10 for every truck that passes through their borders. Many states waive fees for trucks that are registered in another state if that other state does the same.