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Thomas v. Kansas City Southern Ry. Co., 261 U.S. 481 (1923)

Thomas v. Kansas City Southern Railway Company

No. 303

Argued March 9, 12, 1923

Decided April 9, 1923

261 U.S. 481


1. The legislature of a state may, if consistent with its constitution, establish a drainage district, set the boundaries, and apportion the cost by fixing the bases of assessment and taxation, and its conclusion that lands will be benefited cannot be assailed under the Fourteenth Amendment unless palpably arbitrary or discriminatory. P. 261 U. S. 483.

2. A portion of the franchise of a railroad may be included as real estate within such a district, and, to justify its assessment, the benefit need not be direct, and may consist of gains to be derived from increased traffic due to the improvement. Id.

3. But vague speculation as to future increased traffic receipts will not justify a basis of taxation which necessarily produces manifest inequality. P. 261 U. S. 484.

77 F. 70 affirmed.

Page 261 U. S. 482

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court permanently enjoining the appellant drainage district and state officials from enforcing a special drainage improvement tax, levied upon property of the appellee railroad companies.

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