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South Suburban Safeway Lines Inc. v. City of Chicago

October 6, 1969

SOUTH SUBURBAN SAFEWAY LINES, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Fairchild and Kerner, Circuit Judges, and Holder, District Judge.*fn1

Author: Fairchild

FAIRCHILD, Circuit Judge.

South Suburban Safeway Lines, Inc. brought action challenging a grant of federal funds to the city of Chicago or its transit authority pursuant to the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (UMTA).*fn2 The defendants are federal officers involved in granting the funds as well as the city and the Chicago Transit Authority.

The district court decided that South Suburban lacked standing and dismissed the action.*fn3 South Suburban appealed.

South Suburban operates a bus transportation system as an Illinois public utility. Its routes extend south from the central business district of Chicago. For a considerable distance they run along or parallel to the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Chicago Transit Authority is a body politic, created by an Illinois statute for the purpose of establishing a transportation system in Cook county, Illinois. The city and authority propose an extension of the authority's rail operations down the median strip of the Dan Ryan Expressway. South Suburban alleges that this service will compete with and destroy South Suburban's service.

The federal defendants approved a grant to the authority for the purpose of making the extension.

South Suburban alleged that UMTA is itself unconstitutional, and claims in any event, in substance, that the federal defendants failed to make findings required by UMTA or that such findings, if made, lacked sufficient support.

As will appear, we think that South Suburban clearly lacks standing to challenge the validity of UMTA. The closer question is whether it has standing to challenge the sufficiency of the federal defendants' compliance with the act, even though UMTA has no express provision for judicial review.

1. Taxpayer's lack of standing to challenge validity of federal expenditure. South Suburban is undoubtedly a federal taxpayer. It is settled law that a taxpayer's interest in federal funds is insufficient, as a general rule, for standing to challenge the validity of a federal law providing for expenditure or the validity of a particular expenditure.*fn4 In Flast v. Cohen*fn5 the Supreme Court found that the threat of federal expenditure in violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment gave a federal taxpayer standing to seek a judicial determination whether there was such violation. In our view, Flast indicates no change in the law of standing which would accord standing to South Suburban as a taxpayer to challenge UMTA or a particular expenditure under it.

2. South Suburban's lack of state law right to be free from competition. Where a utility does not have a state law right to be free from competition, the threat of financial loss as a result of competition does not give standing to challenge validity of a federal loan or grant which will make the competition feasible.*fn6

The district court analyzed the status under Illinois law of the certificates of public convenience and necessity granted to South Suburban and the statutory authority granted to Chicago Transit Authority. It concluded that South Suburban has no legal right to be free of competition from the authority.*fn7 We agree.

3. The effect of the Administrative ...


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