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When, under existing law, the cancellation of a through route is proposed as "consistent with the public interest," it is usually considered (assuming lack of agreement on the part of the participating carriers) in the following manner:
(1) A tariff is filed, the effect of which is to cancel the route.
(2) If the Commission does not suspend the tariff, the cancellation becomes effective. Sometimes the cancellation, although allowed to become effective, is made the subject of investigation, and the Commission may later order the restoration of the route.
(3) If the Commission does suspend, the proponent of the cancellation assumes the burden of justifying it as "consistent with the public interest.” The proposal contained in section 7 (b) of H. R. 6141 would terminate the Commission's authority to consider proposed cancellations on its suspension docket and to decide whether hearings are necessary or not. A hearing in every case would be mandatory. This would logjam the whole procedure.
Many tariffs and tariff supplements are being filed-almost daily-in which through routes are canceled, but seldom is this done with the consent of all participating carriers. In many cases consent to cancel is withheld as a matter of routine—for reasons which may or may not relate to the public interest. Under the present law, whether a hearing is justified or not can be decided when the Commission considers whether to suspend the tariff, and it may of course decide against suspension but institute an investigation. Under the proposed change this flexible procedure for protecting the public interest would be eliminated and a rigid requirement for hearings would be substituted in every case where there is lack of agreement on the part of all of the participating carriers.
The Association of American Railroads is strongly opposed to this suggested change in procedure for determining whether or not the cancellation of through routes is "consistent with the public interest."
In testimony before this subcommitee on May 23, 1956, Mr. James M. Hood, president of the American Short Line Railroad Association, supported the objective of the amendment of section 15 (3) of the Interstate Commerce Act proposed in section 7 (b) of the bills and suggested certain further restrictive language. We oppose the American Short Line Railroad Association's suggestion for the reasons already advanced against the basic proposal.
Mr. Hood also suggested far-reaching amendment of section 15 (4) of the Interstate Commerce Act. That section sets forth limiting conditions for the prescription of through routes by the Interstate Commerce Commission. No amendment of section 15 (4) was suggested in the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Transport Policy and Organization, nor is any amendment thereof contemplated by the pending bills in their present form.
The suggestion of the American Short Line Railroad Association is to repeal all of section 15 (4) with the exception of its final sentence. That is, the language shown within brackets below would be stricken; and only the concluding sentence would be retained in the law:
"[In establishing any such through route the Commission shall not (except as provided in section 3, and except where one of the carriers is a water line) require any carrier by railroad, without its consent, to embrace in such route substantially less than the entire length of its railroad and of any intermediate railroad operated in conjunction and under a common management or control therewith, which lies between the termini of such proposed through route, (a) unless such inclusion of lines would make the through route unreasonably long as compared with another practicable through route which could otherwise be : established, or (b) unless the Commission finds that the through route proposed to be established is needed in order to provide adequate, and more efficient or more economic, transportation : Provided, however, That in prescribing through mates the Commission shall, so far as is consistent with the public interest, and subject to the foregoing limitations in clauses (a) and (b), give reasonable preference to the carrier by railroad which originates the traffic. No through route and joint rates applicable thereto shall be established by the Commission for the purpose of assisting any carrier that would participate therein to meet its financial needs.] In time of shortage of equipment, congestion of traffic, or other emergency declared by the Commission, it may (either upon complaint or upon its own initiative without complaint, at once, if it so orders, without answer or other formal pleadings by the interested carrier or carriers, and with or without notice, hearing, or the making of filing of a report, according as the Commission may determine) establish temporarily such through routes as in its opinion are necessary or desirable in the public interest.” .
Thus there would be removed from section 15 (4) all the presently effective limitations on the Commission's power to prescribe through routes, limitations that have a long history of careful consideration on the part of Congress. There would be left in force only the provisions of that section which empower the Commission to establish temporary through routes in times or emergeney.
The Association of American Railroads opposes this proposed change in the law.
THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC DOCKS
May 4, 1956.
House of Representatives, Washington, D. 0. DEAR CONGRESSMAN HARRIS: The Commission of Public Docks of the City of Portland is the body charged by the citizens of Portland with responsibility for the city's harbor and maritime commerce. Portland is one of the major seaports of the Pacific coast, having in 1955 handled a total of 7,942,809 tons of cargo.
At the present time, the commission of public docks is completing a harbor modernization program totaling some $942 million, including a general-obligation bond issue of $64 million voted by the citizens of Portland in 1954. When this program is completed, the citizens of Portland will have approximately $28 million invested in their barbor.
The Commission of Public Docks of Portland, Oreg., believes a healthy national transportation system is vital and that the existence of all forms of transportation is fundamental thereto. The commission of public docks, therefore, supports completely the position of Inland Empire Waterways Association as expressed in Resolution No. 5, adopted at that association's 22d annual meeting in Portland, Oreg., November 22, 1955.
The commission of public docks, at its regular meeting of April 23, 1956, reaffirmed its position and instructed me to so advise you. The commission also instructed me to advise you that it opposes H. R. 6141 and H. R. 6142 as being inimical to a sound national transportation policy. Sincerely yours,
THOMAS P. GUERIN, General Manager.
VANCOUVER, WASH., April 19, 1956. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Communications, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. O. DEAR CONGRESSMAN HARRIS: We are informed that public hearings have now been scheduled before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Communications of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce upon H. R. 6141 and H. R. 6142. These bills were introduced in the 84th Congress to implement the recommendations of the Cabinet Committee report on transport policy and organization, better known as the Weeks report. It is in this connection that we are writing you.
It is our confirmed opinion that the National Transportation Act declares the philosophy of the maintenance of rates and conditions under which the various forms of transportation can engage in service under competitive and harmonious relationships. It was enacted into law to correct the then prevailing conditions of cutthroat, noncompensatory, and retaliatory competition, which existed at that time. By reason of this form of competition, areas served by all of the various means of transportation enjoyed a rate structure which was preferential and prejudicial. It placed other areas, not so bounteously blessed by natural advantage of locations, in the position of being unable to compete in the open markets with their production, even though, in some instances of record, that location was actually closer to the market place of ultimate consumption.
It seems to us that the implementation recommended by the Weeks report would, if enacted into law, recreate the same morass of confusion which the
now existing National Transportation Act sought to remedy. Nor does the existence of the prevailing law, in our opinion, negate the principle of competitive enterprise. Competition exists between the various forms of transportation in many phases beyond that of the promulgated rates applicable to the different means of transportation. Rates charged are but one facet of the active competition between carriers. Service, convenience, elapsed time of delivery-these and many other forms of competition exist between the carriers even though the rate be the same.
Unbridled, noncompensatory rates, preferential and prejudicial treatment of favored areas by any of the modes of transportation isn't the best means of demonstrating belief in the principle of competitive, free enterprise. When people or enterprises fail to do right of their own volition or on the other hand, knowingly do wrong, using the principle of open competition as justification, laws must be enacted to protect the general welfare. It is to insure these necessary protections that governments are established.
We have had experience in the past in rate cases before the Interstate Commerce Commission which compel us to state our belief that the repeal of bulk exemptions on waterways, abandonment of the present comprehensive rate regulations in the National Transportation Act, emasculation of the suspension powers of the act and repeal of the fourth section, commonly known as the “long- and short-haul clause" would not be in the public interest. We hereby state our belief that the prevailing National Transportation Act, as it presently applies, is much firmer assurance of the preservation of effective, economical, and efficient motor and water carrier competition with other forms of transportation.
Trusting that our position on this matter may be taken into consideration in your decisions, and with best wishes, we are, Very truly yours,
VANCOUVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, INC., By RAY H. ANDERSON, President.
Coos Bay, OREG., April 23, 1956. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Communications, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: The port of Coos Bay wishes to express its opposition to the passage of bills H. R. 6141, H. R. 6142, and S. 1920.
If enacted, the foregoing legislation would hamper the orderly development of a sound national transportation policy.
It will not be possible for a representative of the port of Coos Bay to attend the hearings, but we wish to go on record as supporting resolution No. 5 of the Inland Empire Waterways Association which was adopted at their 22d annual convention. Respectfully yours,
PORT OF Coos Bay, INC.,
SPOKANE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
Spokane, Wash., June 14, 1950. Hon. J. PEROY PRIEST,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.O. DEAR CONGRESSMAN PRIEST: On May 2, I was privileged to appear before the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee to express the opposition of the intermountain area to any revision of the fourth section of the Interstate Commerce Act. Copies of my statement were made available to committee members and it is, of course, included in the record of the hearings.
On May 10, Dr. John H. Frederick, head of the department of business organization and professor of transportation at the University of Maryland, testified. It is my understanding that in his prepared testimony he did not deal with the fourth section. He did, however, discuss it in answering questions from the committee. One of his answers definitely refers to my appearance before the committee and his opinion of Spokane's present attitudes on fourth section
Dr. Frederick was not authorized to speak for Spokane in his appearance - before your committee, and I believe that he is incorrect in saying, "*** that they did not therefore feel that the need of the fourth section was quite as great as it had been in the past.” He was correct, however, in saying, "Nonetheless they opposed very much any change in the fourth section, regarding it almost like the Ten Commandments * *." The balance of his sentence we would like to challenge. It is, “ * * that it gave them some protection in case they should ever want it.” We would word it differently. We would say that it would give us protection that we vitally need."
I was appreciative of the opportunity of appearing before your committee and urge that you give serious consideration to our concern of any revision of the fourth section. Yours sincerely,
L. W. MARKHAM, General Manager.
GRAND RAPIDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
Grand Rapids, Mich., June 20, 1956. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Communications, Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN HARRIS: Subjoined is a statement of views with respect to some of the provisions of H. R. 6141 and other bills proposing certain changes in the Interstate Commerce Act now being heard by the subcommittee, filed on behalf of members of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, buyers of all kinds of transportation including shippers and receivers of agricultural products, forest products, products of mines (gypsum), but principally manufactured articles.
SPECIFIC ACTION URGED BY THE GRAND RAPIDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Service deficits: Approval of Cabinet Committee recommendation,
Agricultural commodity exemptions : Approval of Cabinet Committee recommendation.
Long and short haul clause (sec. 4 ICC Act): Urge enactment of H. R. 6208 at this session of Congress, as being most likely to satisfactorily dispose of one of the major points featured in the report of the Cabinet Committee.
Suspension powers: Urge that changes proposed by the Cabinet Committee he rejected. Such changes if approved would make it impossible for the Interstate Commerce Commission to exercise the power of suspension in many cases where protection of shippers' interests requires such action.
Outstanding effective ICC orders: Urge that the provisions of section 25 of H. R. 6141 be not approved. Many outstanding orders of the Commission require maintenance of numerous rate adjustments which have been established after exhaustive proceedings. The enactment of the proposed changes would allow the railroads if they so desire to substitute a completely new and different system of rates. We find nothing in the Cabinet Committee report calling for or supporting changes proposed in section 25 of H. R. 6141.
Special Government rates: Urge that special rates for Government traffic be limited to apply only during the period of war, threatened war, or national emergency, and that such rates be negotiated on a firm and equitable basis and be made subject to other provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act, except that publication, filing, and posting of tariff schedules may be waived upon filing with the Interstate Commerce Commission by the Government agency concerned a statement showing that the security of the Nation is involved. • In the opinion of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, many of the issues embraced in H. R. 6141 are so far-reaching in their consequences that the whole subject will undoubtedly require prolonged consideration. However, the obvious need for changes in sections 4 and 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act recommended by this chamber can and should be considered by this term of Congress and legislation enacted along the lines hereinbefore recommended. Respectfully submitted.
GRAND RAPIDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, By C. E. ELERICK, Traffic Commissioner.
The foregoing statement of views and recommendations approved by the board of directors of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce in meeting held June 19, 1856.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES W. STADELL ON BEHALF OF ILLINOIS COAL TRAFFIC BUREAU,
BELLEVILLE FUELS, Inc., MIDDLE STATES FUELS, INC., AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS COAL TRADE ASSOCIATION, IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSAL CONTAINED IN SECTION 14 OF H. R. 6141
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Charles W. Stadell. I am employed as traffic manager of Illinois Coal Traffic Bureau, with offices at 307 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill. Illinois Coal Traffic Bureau is a voluntary association of the coal-producing companies that own and operate bituminous coal mines which are located principally in the DuQuoin and southern Illinois producing districts in the State of Illinois. Illinois Coal Traffic Bureau was organized, and is maintained, for the purpose of promoting and protecting the interests of its member companies in transportation matters.
I have also been authorized and requested to represent and speak for Belleville Fuels, Inc., Middle States Fuels, Inc., and Northern Illinois Coal Trade Association in the presentation of this statement and in connection with the matter to which it relates. Belleville Fuels, Inc., and Middle States Fuels, Inc., are associations having as members coal-producing companies which own and operate bituminous coal mines that are located in the Belleville, DuQuoin, FultonPeoria, and northern Illinois coal-producing districts in the State of Illinois, and such associations are engaged in handling statistical, market research, and transportation matters for their member companies. Northern Illinois Coal Trade Association is a voluntary association of the coal-producing companies which own and operate bituminous coal mines that are located at Alpha and Atkinson, Ill., and in the northern Illinois and Fulton County producing districts in the State of Illinois, and it was organized, and is maintained, for the purpose of promoting and protecting the interests of its member companies in transportation matters. The address of these three associations is 307 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill,
From the standpoint of annual quantity of bituminous coal produced, the State of Illinois ranks fourth among all of the bituminous-coal-producing States of the United States. Only West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, in the order named, have a greater annual production of bituminous coal than does Ilinois. The members of the four above-named associations, for which this statement is presented, produce approximately 90 percent of the bituminous coal that is produced annually in Illinois for commercial sale and use. In the interest of brevity, I will hereinafter refer to such associations and their members, collectively, as the Illinois coal producers.
Our purpose in presenting this statement is to register the objection and opposition of the Illinois coal industry to the proposal contained in section 14 of IL R. 6141 and to direct the attention of the committee and of Congress to the discriminatory character of this proposal; to the absence of any sound basis for ith adoption, and to the fact that this proposal, if approved by Congress, would result in great injury to the Illinois coal producers, their miners, and other employees, and to many of the electric utilities and other industrial plants which purchase Illinois coal for movement by barges, as well as to their numerous customers located throughout the Middle Western States. Section 14 of H. R. 6141 proposes to repeal section 303 (b) of the Interstate Commerce Act. This section of such act reads as follows:
"Nothing in this part shall apply to the transportation by a water carrier of commodities in bulk when the cargo space of the vessel in which such commodities are transported is being used for the carrying of not more than three such commodities. This subsection shall apply only in the case of commodities in bulk which are (in accordance with the existing custom of the trade in the handling and transportation of such commodities as of June 1, 1939) loaded and carried without wrappers or containers and received and delivered by the carrier without transportation mark or count. For the purposes of this subSection two or more vessels while navigated as a unit shall be considered to be a single vessel. This subsection shall not apply to transportation subject, at the time this part takes effect, to the provisions of the Intercoastal Shipping Act, 1933, as amended."