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It was completed about 3 years ago to the Brazos River in Texas, 41 miles southwest of Galveston. It was completed early this year from that point to Corpus Christi, its present authorized terminus, a distance of approximately 150 miles. The total length of the project being the distance from New Orleans to Corpus Christi, is 567 miles. The project includes a cut-off from Plaquemine on the Mississippi River, 112 miles above New Orleans to Morgan City, La., a distance of 102 miles west of New Orleans. Traffic using the canal to and from points on the Mississippi River and its tributaries uses the Plaquemine-Mergan City route, saving a considerable distance in mileage.
There is, in the pending general rivers and harbors bill, reported to the House last November an authorization for the enlargement of the Louisiana-Texas Intracoastal Waterway to a depth of 12 feet and a bottom width of 125 feet. This recommended authorization is based upon a report submitted to the Congress by the Secretary of War, March 21, 1939, and contained in House Document No. 230 of the Seventy-sixth Congress, first session. I quote from this report, paragraphs 61 and 65 of page 19, as follows:
“64. Discussion.-In 1925, when Congress authorized the construction of the 9- by 100-foot Louisiana-Texas Intracoastal Waterway, it was anticipated that there would develop an annual traffic of 1,600,000 tons between New Orleans and Morgan City and an annual traffic of 1,200,000 tons between Morgan City and the Sabine ports. From the Sabine ports to the Galveston Bay ports annual traffic was estimated as 1,3000,000 tons. Depending primarily upon the shipment of sulfur from Gulf, Tex., a total commerce of 700,000 tons was expected to develop on the waterway west of Galveston.
"65. Although the 9- by 100-foot channel between New Orleans and Galveston, Tex., was not completed in all sections until 1934, the growing commerce not only fulfilled expectations but surpassed previous estimates. By 1937, considering both the Harvey and Plaquemine routes, traffic between New Orleans and Morgan City reached a total of 2,302,708 tons, as compared with an estimated 1,600,000 tons. Similarly, between the Sabine River and Galveston Bay the traffic in 1937 was 1,021.450 tons, and a total of 999,151 tons was moved during the first 6 months of 1938. The largest tonnage, however, was that between the Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers, on which section traffic on 9-foot draft was in excess of 3,500,000 tons for the caledar year 1937.”
Based upon the enormous traffic it is now handling and the remarkable service it is rendering, the Intracoastal Canal Waterway of Louisiana and Texas is probably the most valuable and successful inland waterway in the United States.
The recommendation of the engineers for its enlargement, as set forth in the report referred to, was based upon an estimated traffic in 1945, as follows:
5, 286, 000
Ton-miles --237, 900,000 288,000,000 179, 100, 000 204, 800,000 168, 700,000 252, 200,000
This traffic estimated for 1945 has already been surpassed. According to figures supplied by the district engineers for Texas and Louisiana and as confirmed by the Chief of Engineers, the canal in Louisiana between the Mississippi and the Sabine Rivers last year handled a total of 13,806,255 tons, while the section in Texas, completed only as far as the Brazos River, 41 miles southwest of Galveston, handled 11,522,538 tons.
The engineering report recommending the enlargement of the waterway to a depth of 12 feet and a bottom width of 125 feet says that,
“Because of the large development of commerce on this waterway and the difficulties attending navigation, shippers and carriers have united in requesting an increase in authorized dimensions."
The report then goes on to say:
"With the increase in traffic density the passing of large tows in the 100-foot waterway has become a major problem.
Large economies in operation are lost because of inadequate channel dimensions."
In estimating the ratio of benefits to costs of the proposed enlargement of the canal, based upon an anticipated traffic which already has been surpassed, the report finds that the benefits exceed the cost in the ratio of 1.27.
It is my understanding that the Army Engineers have recently submitted to Congress a recommendation for the enlargement of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from New Orleans east to Mobile, a distance of 166 miles, to a depth of 12 feet and a bottom width of 150 feet.
In the pending general rivers and harbors bill is an authorization for the extension and completion of the Intracoastal Canal from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande Valley, a distance of 120 miles. This recommendation is based upon the present channel dimensions of the projects, namely a 9-foot depth and a 100foot bottom width.
The pending bill (H. R. 6999) proposes the enlargement of the entire Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to a depth of 12 feet from the Rio Grande to the present eastern terminus of the project, Apalachee Bay, Fla., a distance of 1,074 miles. Of this total mileage, 733 miles, from Corpus Christi, Tex., to Mobile, Ala., has already been recommended, as herein pointed out, for enlargement to a 12-foot depth. In other words, only the proposed extension from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande Valley, a distance of 120 miles, and from Mobile to Apalachee Bay, a distance of 221 miles, or a total of 341 miles out of the total of 1,074 miles, has not yet been covered by specific engineering reports. It will, of course, appeal to the good judgment and common sense of this committee that if any part of this great waterway is enlarged it should be enlarged in its entirety on the basis of like dimensions. As you will note from the engineers' estimates, the total cost of the enlargement and completion of the Intracoastal Canal from the Mexican border to Apalachee Bay, Fla., to a depth of 12 feet and a bottom width of 125 feet, is $26,000,000.
As the committee is, of course, advised, there is now in existence a complted and useable 12-foot inland waterway skirting the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville, Fla., to Trenton, N. J., a distance of 1,046 miles. It should be self-evident that these two great inland-waterway systems should be connected by a barge canal along the most suitable and convenient route across the State of Florida. That is what this bill proposes and it is the essence of it. The proposed pipe line or pipe lines is an emergency device in order that these two now unconnected waterways may be put to the earliest possible use for the movement of only one of the many essential war commodities produced along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, namely, petroleum and its products. In this connection, it should be noted that most of the raw materials produced in such abundance along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway are naturally water-transportation commodities which cannot be moved economically by any other method than water transportation. Approximately 70 percent of the tonnage handled by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is petroleum and its products, such as fuel oil, gasoline, and refined oils of various kinds.
All of the sulfur produced in the United States—and sulfur is an essential war material is produced on or immediately adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway in Louisiana and Texas. This production, which normally amounts to 2,000,000 tons annually, is now, because of the war demand, more than 3,000,000 tons annually; and, while I do not have the exact figures, I think it is conservative to say that at least 50 percent of the consumption of this vital product is in the territory adjacent to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and, more particularly, in the great industrial area reaching north along the coast or adjacent thereto, from Norfolk, Va., to New York. Formerly, at least 80 percent of the sulfur production of Louisiana and Texas moved by steamship to industrial centers or distributing points along the Atlantic or Pacific coast. Now, with the exception of that which moves through the Intracoastal Waterway to points along the Gulf coast or to interior points served by the Mississippi River system, all of the great sulfur production of the Southwest has been forced to rail transportation at a freight cost from three to four times higher than the former water cost with a through connected inland canal system such as would be provided by the connecting barge canal across Florida. It is safe to say that hundreds of thousands of tons of sulfur annually would use the inland water route to the consuming industries in this part of the country. The same applies to many other low-valued raw materials, such as salt and chemical products now coming from the great chemical industries which are being developed along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The cotton production of the Gulf-coast area, including that from Texas, which amounts to about 40 percent of the Nation's total, would find, through the canal, the only method of water transport now safely available to it.
Senator VANDENBERG. Inasmuch as you are familiar with the House bill, will you tell me what was dropped out of the original House bill to bring it down from $144,000,000 to $93,000,000?
Mr. MILLER. The original House bill provided for an estimated authorization of $144,000,000, which included $58,000,000 for the canal across Florida
Senator CLARK of Missouri (interposing). A barge canal?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir. The other item which was eliminated was an estimated cost of $50,000,000 to extend the Gulf-Intracoastal waterway from Apalachee Bay to the opening of the barge canal on the west coast of Florida, a distance of some 120 miles. That was eliminated at the recommendation of the engineers who stated that using the open water of the Gulf from the present terminus of Apalachee Bay to the entrance of the canal on the west coast of Florida not only was entirely practicable, but safe. So that in the revised estimate the cost of the barge canal was reduced from $58,000,000 to $44,000,000, and $50,000,000 was eliminated, making a total elimination of $64,000,000. Then there was the addition, Senator, of $13,000,000 for the pipe line from Yazoo, Miss., to Charleston or Savannah.
Senator VANDENBERG. How was the reduction from $58,000,000 to $44,000,000 accomplished in connection with the canal ?
Mr. MILLER. It was accomplished by a report from the engineers.
Senator BILBO. That is the difference between a sea-level barge canal and a lock canal.
Senator VANDENBERG. A lock canal would cost more than a sea-level canal, would it not? Senator Bilbo. No; it would be less. That is where the difference
. comes in.
Mr. MILLER. That is covered in a letter addressed to the chairman of the Rivers and Harbors Committee by the Chief of Engineers, which is not in the record of the former hearing, but which should be in this record.
(The letter from the Chief of Engineers, referred to by the witness, was inserted by Senator Pepper at the beginning of this hearing.)
Mr. MILLER. Now, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the discussions upon this bill, as indicated by the pertinent remarks of the chairman, have been directed entirely toward one situation, namely, the oil and gasoline shortage along the Atlantic coast. That, of course, is vital and important. But this project goes far beyond that. It goes into the question of trying to meet a very critical transportation situation which I think we are all agreed is quite likely to become more acute as we go along.
The simple logic of this bill, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, is that we now have a completed, protected inland waterway from Jacksonville, Fla., to Trenton, N. Ì., a distance of 1,046 miles. We have on the Gulf coast from Corpus Christi, 120 miles north of the Mexican border, to the west coast of Florida, a distance of nine-hundred-and-seventy-odd miles, a protected inland waterway 9 feet deep and 100 feet wide.
Common sense would suggest that if those waterways are rendering any local service whatever and have any relationship to this acute transportation situation, those two great waterway systems ought to be connected into one through inland integrated system.
I call the committee's attention particularly to this fact, that a large portion of the Gulf-Intracoastal Waterway has already been recommended by the engineers for enlargement upon the basis of a 12-foot depth and a 125-foot bottom width, the same dimensions which exist in the inland waterway from Jacksonville to Trenton,
In the stretch from Corpus Christi to New Orleans, a distance of nearly 600 miles, more than 2 years ago, based upon the then existing commerce, the Board of Engineers, after exhaustive examination, recommended the enlargement of the project to the dimensions provided in this bill, namely, a 100-foot width, at an estimated cost of $5,200,000.
In the Rivers and Harbors Act which was vetoed by the President some 2 years ago that authorization was contained; and I have in my possession the report of this committee, signed by the chairman, in which that recommendation was approved, and it was in the bill when it passed the House.
Recently a similar recommendation came from the Board of Engineers with respect to that part of the Gulf-Intracoastal Waterway from New Orleans to Mobile, recommending that it be enlarged to a depth of 12 feet and a bottom width of 150 feet.
Insofar as the Gulf-Intracoastal Waterway is concerned, the only thing new in this particular provision is the 12-foot enlargement from Corpus Christi to Mobile, which has been recommended, with the 120 miles from Corpus Christi to the valley, which has already been recommended for improvement on the basis of a 9-foot depth and a 100-foot bottom width, and that the 221 miles from Mobile east shall be included.
It seems to me, gentlemen of the committee, that that is simply Senator VANDENBERG. Is there a map available to show precisely what it is that you are talking about?
Mr. MILLER. Yes. We have a map here that I think will show very clearly what I am talking about.
From the Rio Grande Valley at this point [indicating on map] to AT chee Bay is 1,074 miles. From Jacksonville to Trenton is 1,046 miles. Here you have a completed, usable 12-foot inland waterway. From Apalachee Bay to Corpus Christi you have a 9-foot waterway. From Corpus Christi to the valley the project has been recommended for construction by the engineers; and the item appears in the rivers and harbors bill with an estimated cost of 21/2 million dollars.
There is now pending a favorable engineering report recommending the enlargement of the existing intracoastal canal from Corpus Christi to Mobile, a distance of 733 miles, on the basis of dimensions similar to these; in other words, a 12-foot canal. The only thing that this bill does, Mr. Chairman, insofar as the Gulf-Intracoastal Waterway is concerned, is to extend the 12-foot depth through the entirety, clear down to the valley, and then to extend it from Mobile over to Apalachee Bay, a distance of 221 miles, or a total distance of 341 miles.
I have before me, Mr. Chairman, the figures used by the engineers in their recommendation, providing that this canal from the Mississippi to Corpus Christi, a distance of about 600 miles, be deepened to 12 feet. The original project was recommended by the engineers
and authorized by the Congress upon an estimated tonnage of 4,800,000. On the basis of that tonnage the expenditure of $16,000,000 at that time was recommended as justified.
Last year, Mr. Chairman, the Intracostal Waterway of Louisiana and Texas, between the Mississippi and the Sabine River carried 13,000,000 tons, and in Texas, with the project only completed to Freeport, 41 miles south of Galveston, it carried over 11,000,000 tons, four or five times the amount of commerce estimated as justification for it just a few years ago.
Senator VANDEN BERG. I am sorry, but I still do not understand just what this bill does in terms of this map. Will you point it out exactly?
Mr. MILLER. I will try to do it. This bill provides that for an estimated cost of $26,000,000 the Gulf-Intracoastal Waterway will be enlarged from Corpus Christi to Apalachee Bay from its present depth of 9 feet, to 12 feet, and that the 12-foot depth shall be continued to the valley. The estimated cost of that is $26,000,000.
Senator CLARK of Missouri. The part from Corpus Christi to the valley is included in that $26,000,000?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MILLER. The $26,000,000 is estimated to be sufficient to give us along the Gulf coast from Florida clear down to Mexico a 12-foot canal.
I am afraid my time is running out.
The CHAIRMAN. We will give you some more time. You have been interrupted. Go ahead.
Mr. MILLER. Port St. Joe is a point nearer to Mobile than Carrabelle, which is the terminus; and Carrabelle or Apalachee Bay I think is some forty-odd miles farther east to which the 9-foot channel now extends.
I realize that the question has been raised in a very proper way by the chairman, and has been frequently raised in the House committee as to what value a connected inland waterway will have, which probably cannot be realized for 15 months to 3 years, and what service it can render in this war.
Gentlemen, my answer to that is that this is a transportation facility in peace as well as in war and will prove of inestimable value to this country. So far as I am concerned, I hope the war will be over before the canal can be completed. But who can underwrite that? I am hopeful that the war will be over in sufficient time so that a large proportion of the two-hundred-odd-billions of dollars that the Congress of the United States has appropriated may never have to be expended for battleships and things of that sort. But I want to say to you, gentlemen, if I may say so, based upon my long experience with this inland waterway problem, that in my judgment there is no waterway project in America today which is capable of rendering greater service to our country in time of peace as well as in time of war.
I am sure that you all noticed in the papers this morning that the total number of sinkings of American vessels in Atlantic and adjacent waters, since Pearl Harbor, amount to 320.
I placed in the House hearings, Mr. Chairman, only a little more than a month ago—I think it was the 18th of May, as a matter of