Columbus v. Ours Garage & Wrecker Service, Inc., 536 U.S. 424, 16 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 424 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

256, 270 (1985) (State may not restrict local use of funds that the United States makes available to localities to spend at their discretion).4

This case, by contrast, deals not with States' voluntary agreements to relinquish authority vis-à-vis their political subdivisions in exchange for federal funds, but with preemption stemming from Congress' power to regulate commerce, in a field where States have traditionally allowed localities to address local concerns. Congress' clear purpose in 14501(c)(2)(A) is to ensure that its preemption of States' economic authority over motor carriers of property, 14501(c)(1), "not restrict" the preexisting and traditional state police power over safety. That power typically includes the choice to delegate the State's "safety regulatory authority" to localities. Forcing a State to refrain from doing so would effectively "restrict" that very authority. Absent a basis more reliable than statutory language insufficient to demonstrate a "clear and manifest purpose" to the

4 Nor, the dissent's suggestion notwithstanding, see post, at 448, is 14501 similar to the Clean Air Act, which mandates that States undertake an environmental planning process that of necessity cannot respect local political boundaries. See 42 U. S. C. 7407(c), 7410(a)(1) (1994 ed.) (States must develop implementation plans for air quality in each of its "air quality control region[s]," whose borders are defined by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency based not upon local jurisdictional lines but upon criteria she "deems necessary or appropriate for the attainment . . . of [national] ambient air quality standards"); cf. 33 U. S. C. 1313(d)(1)(A) (under the Clean Water Act, each State must develop pollution abatement plans based upon a "priority ranking" of all "waters within its boundaries for which . . . effluent limitations . . . are not stringent enough to implement [applicable] water quality standard[s]"). Even so, States may delegate implementation authority under the Clean Air Act to their political subdivisions, subject to the requirement that the State bear ultimate oversight responsibility. See 7410(a)(2)(E)(iii) (State must provide "necessary assurances that, where the State has relied on a local or regional government, agency, or instrumentality for the implementation of any [state] plan provision, the State has responsibility for ensuring adequate implementation of such plan provision").


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