‘Taxation Without Representation’ Suit Challenges Toll Road Taxes

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Two Virginia commuters have filed a class action lawsuit seeking to halt the collection of what they say are illegal tolls on the Dulles Toll Road.

John B. Corr and John W. Grigsby say that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) is not a properly constituted governmental body and has no constitutional right to levy taxes.

Corr, of Great Falls, says in the suit that he has used the Dulles Toll Road from time to time for the last 15 years, paying his tolls in cash. Grigsby, of Hillsboro, has commuted daily on the toll road, paying his tolls via EZPass transponder.

Originally built by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the toll road was later deeded to MWAA, which promptly raised tolls the pay the cost of extending Metrorail to the airport.

This, say Corr and Grigsby, is unlawful. Tolls should only be used to pay for upkeep of the highway and can be levied only a lawfully-elected legislative body.

The governing board of MWAA is appointed by elected officials of the District, Virginia and Maryland and by the President. There is, thus, no direct electoral control of the board and any attempt by it to levy taxes is unconstitutional, the two argue.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria and seeks class action status. It asks for a permanent ban on “excess” tolls and asks that all “excess” collected since 2005 be returned to the highway’s users.

 

 

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.

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