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SOLING v. NEW YORK STATE

October 15, 1992

CHESTER P. SOLING, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK STATE, NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY AUTHORITY and TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE AND TUNNEL AUTHORITY, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK

 VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.

 I

 This is one of two overlapping lawsuits brought by the plaintiff asking the federal courts to declare invalid various practices of a state and state-created agency. In each lawsuit, plaintiff alleges that those agencies constitute non-elected bodies which charge tolls, amounting to taxes, not voted upon by elected representatives and used for purposes not approved by such representatives. For several reasons, discussed in greater detail below, I dismiss the complaint.

 The analysis which follows establishes in some detail the reasons why plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. I have prepared the analysis for two reasons:

 (1) so that, in recognition of the importance of access to the courts by individual citizens who challenge decisions in our system of government, as in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663, 82 S. Ct. 691 (1962) (one-person one-vote decision contrary to prior precedent), plaintiff will have had a full day in court and will obtain a ruling discussing the merits of, as well as procedural barriers to, his claims; and

 (2) so that further suits on overlapping grounds will be properly precluded in the future. *fn1"

 II

 Plaintiff's pleadings in this action consist of a complaint and a further additional complaint.

 1. Plaintiff's first claim in the original complaint is that New York State has established authorities (New York State Thruway Authority and Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority) which act as independent governments that impose tolls which amount to taxes without consent of the governed, which tolls are used in ways not decided upon by elected representatives, contrary to the constitutional guarantee of a republican form of government (Art. III § 4).

 2. The second claim in the original complaint alleges violation of the Federal Interstate Highway Act (23 USC 129), which provides for an interstate highway system on which tolls are charged only to liquidate the cost of the highways and associated bonds. A subordinate claim asserts that the Authorities circumvent state sunset provisions by floating new and unrelated bonds with respect to which they continue to charge tolls.

 3. The third claim in the original complaint alleges that the interstate highway system, initiated during the 1950s, was built partially for the purpose of facilitating national defense, and that the ability of bondholders to seize facilities for defaults imperils that objective.

 Plaintiff's further additional complaint elaborates on the above points and adds the following claims:

 4. Freedom of assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment is violated by obstruction of free use of roads.

 6. The state-related status of the Authorities facilitates failure to deliver services which have been charged for - a failure which would be actionable if a private party were responsible.

 7. By issuing new bonds, the Authorities evade state law sunset provisions with respect to their authority to collect tolls.

 Plaintiff's first lawsuit, Soling v. New York State, 91 Civ. 3372 (KTD), was against the State of New York but was predicated on essentially the same core grounds as the pending action. It was dismissed by Judge Duffy on May 24, 1991 sua sponte, citing the Eleventh Amendment, lack of case or controversy, and ...


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