« PreviousContinue »
Percentage Distribution of Ton-Miles of Intercity Freight Traffic, Public and Private,
By Transport Agency
1946 - 1959
ICC Statement No. 6103, "Intercity Ton-
Sources: Column (a) Years 1946-1953 - Table 158 Statistics of Railwayo, 1954
1956 - Part 1, Summary A-1, Transport Statistic, la U.S. 1957-1959 - Table 162, Transport Statistici la U.S.
Column (b) Year, 1946-1947 - Table 46, 1948-1953, Table 29, Statistics
of Class I Motor Carriers, I.C.C., 1954-1956 - Part 7, Table 29, 1957-1959 - Tables 29 & 89, Transport Statistics in the U.S.
Column (c) statement No. Q-650, I.C.C. Bureau of Transport Economics
Senator SMATHERS (presiding). Thank you, Mr. Forgash, for that illuminating and challenging statement.
Senator Schoeppel, do you have any questions?
Senator SCHOEPPEL. Mr. Forgash, it appears from your statement, which I tried to follow very closely, that you do not paint such a drab picture of this entire transportation business. I take it, and I realize that as far as I am concerned, that there is a note of optimism in it.
What briefly do you think is ahead down the road if some of these matters can be carefully looked at, practically looked at, and approached realistically? What is your judgment of it in a nutshell ?
Mr. FORGASH. Senator, as I tried to bring out in my presentation, I believe that technological development is the only answer to the survival of our common carrier transportation system.
There doesn't seem to be any hope in sight for arresting the spiraling of labor costs and material costs.
There is a limit to how far the common carrier industry can go in raising the level of rates, the price the public pays, because we have just discussed what I call the do-it-yourself type of transportation: get the price up high enough and you lose more than you make.
I have always thought that history shows that no notable achievement has ever been made in the history of civilization except under the lash of economic necessity and public peril and the principle of survival. We are going through that right now, and we do a lot of things we never thought were possible.
I believe that as a collateral offshoot of our defense program and the development of atomic power and energy, within 5 years—I don't think it will take much longer—we will witness atomic-propelled locomotives going coast to coast, as an illustration, drawing 50, 75, or a hundred cars, for the cost equivalent of $5 or $10 in coal.
Some people I have had discussions with about that have talked about the tremendous cost of one of these contraptions. But we are developing smaller reactors. Just recently the Government scrapped a program after having spent $700 million on an atomic airplane. That gives you an idea that we are getting down to a pretty small size.
It may be in the common interest that the costs be somewhat subsidized from tax moneys. I am not equipped to say how. But the development has to take place.
The trucks, on the other hand, have an equal opportunity. I believe, and I have so stated in some of my talks, that within 5 years we are going to witness trailer trains on the highways of this country drawn not by what you call tractors but tractor-locomotives. The genius of Michigan, when the necessity is there, will produce it.
The question of safety is important, but I believe that with the development of electronics and radar these trailer trains, from the standpoint of public safety, will be mechanically and automatically retarded as they approach within a certain distance of an obstacle or a car directly in the way. And when it gets to a point beyond safety, it will be stopped instantaneously.
And so it goes. I am optimistic, but nothing of that sort can happen if we interfere with normal workings of economics.
I hope it is not too long an answer to your question.
Incidentally, gentlemen, I also believe, and I have stated this before, that the railroads, through this method of piggybacking and improved