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City of Benton v. Village of West City

April 12, 2007

THE CITY OF BENTON, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, AND AG ENERGY RESOURCES, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE VILLAGE OF WEST CITY, A BODY POLITIC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stiehl, District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint as moot (Doc. 8), to which plaintiff City of Benton has filed a response (Doc. 12), and defendant a reply (Doc. 13). Plaintiff Ag Energy Resources, Inc., has not responded to the motion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs City of Benton ("Benton") and Ag Energy Resources, Inc., ("AER") filed this complaint against defendant seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs allege that defendant prohibits truck traffic on one of its public streets, and that such prohibition violates the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/15-102 et seq., and also violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution in that the prohibition is preempted by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, 49 U.S.C. § 31114. Plaintiffs further allege that the prohibition at issue jeopardizes Benton's Industrial Park development, its historic tax base in the area of the Industrial Park, threatens to cause Benton to lose tax revenue in the area being developed, and threatens to hinder and affect AER in the development of its business located in Benton's Industrial Park. (Doc. 2-1, pp. 1-2).

Specifically, plaintiffs attack defendant's prohibition of truck traffic on a certain section of Central Street, pursuant to West City Ordinances No. 483 and 485, which state as follows:

Ordinance No. 483

ARTICLE VII - REGULATING WEIGHT LIMITATION

33.71 Purposes and Authority. The purpose of this Ordinance is to prevent damage to Village roadways, alleys and bridges in the Village of West City, which may be caused by vehicles of excessive weight to lessen safety hazards and the risk of injury to the traveling public, to extend the life expectancy of the Village roadways, alleys and bridges and to reduce the public expense of their maintenance and repair.

33.72 Roadways, Alleys and Bridges Affected. Roadways, alleys and bridges affected by this Ordinance shall be specifically set out in Exhibit A attached hereto and made a part of hereof the same as if specifically set forth herein.*fn1

33.73 Restrictions and Notices. . . .

B. Whenever notice has been posted as provided herein, no person may thereafter operate any vehicle, or as owner authorizes [sic] or knowingly allows [sic] the operation of any vehicle, with a gross registered weight in excess of 25 tons (50,000 pounds) on any roadways, alleys or bridges so posted unless otherwise exempt as provided herein. . . .

Ordinance No. 485 . . .

Section 1: That the penalty provision [of Ordinance No. 483] be, and the same hereby is, amended in words and figures as follows: 33.76 Penalties. Any violation of this Ordinance shall be a civil infraction subject to a fine of not less than $75.00 nor more than $500.00. Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to any fine, the Village may seek ...


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