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estimates relied on by the Corps of Engineers and the Congress in determining the justification for its authorization.
The Intracoastal Canal was authorized on the expectation that it would ultimately develop 5 million tons of commerce a year between the Mississippi and the Rio Grande, but this figure was reached and exceeded long before the main channel was completed. Indeed, by the time the main channel reached its southern terminus at Brownsville less than 5 years ago, the waterway was then carrying more than 28 million tons of commerce.
When I appeared before this subcommittee a year ago, I was able to report that commerce had grown to more than 351,2 million tons annually, and today I can call the committee's attention to the fact that the latest official figure is more than 42 million tons. In other words, this waterway had already developed tonnage more than eight times greater than the amount predicted for it, and there is every reason to believe that it is only now beginning to grow.
What this waterway has contributed to the development of the Louisiana and Texas coasts is almost beyond description. This "golden coast” has been transformed from a virtual wilderness into a petroleum and chemical empire, with huge industrial facilities located along the entire length of its 700 miles between the Mississippi and the Rio Grande. The effect of this metamorphosis on the national income and the national security—the benefits which have accrued, the savings in transportation costs which have been realized, and the tax revenues which have been funneled into the Federal Treasury—are all but incalculable.
PROJECTS AWAITING CONSTRUCTION
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, however, is not a single transportation facility; it consists not only of the main channel but of many related navigation projects, most of which have been constructed, but some of which are still awaiting the appropriation of construction funds. I would like to call the subcommittee's attention briefly to a few of these important projects awaiting construction, because the need for such projects has increased proportionately as the economic benefits to be derived from their construction have likewise increased.
In Louisiana, for example, one of the Nation's most urgently needed projects is the improvement of the alternate route of the Intracoastal Waterway from Morgan City to Port Allen. The needed modernization of this alternate route would reduce from 225 miles to only 65 miles the distance which all barge tows must travel to and from the producing areas of Texas and the processing centers of the Middle West on the Mississippi and Ohio River systems-for this short route would obviate the necessity of barge traffic moving by way of the circuitous route down to New Orleans.
Only the fact that well-informed witnesses will shortly appear before you on this vital project restrains me from emphasizing its importance in greater detail now; but I assure you, gentlemen, that in the considered judgment of the Intracoastal Canal Association there is no navigation project in the United States today which will produce greater benefits in so short a time.
CANALIZATION OF GUADALUPE RIVER
In Texas, a project which deserves the highest priority in your consideration is the canalization of the Guadalupe River to Victoria. This important extension of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway would penetrate one of the most productive areas in Texas, and some of the largest industries to be located on the gulf coast in recent years have been established along the route of this authorized channel.
The total cost of this project will approximate $11 million, but it is important to note that of this amount local interests have assumed and are ready to contribute $41,2 million, or 41 percent of the total cost. This important project is strongly supported by both a high ratio of benefits to cost and a substantial degree of local participation. It is a highly worthwhile project and fully deserves inclusion in the civil works program for construction during the next fiscal year.
Another important tributary to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Texas is the Colorado River, where the canalization project has been authorized but not yet constructed. This channel would extend 17 miles upstream from its intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the vicinity of Bay City, and it would serve an area rich in natural resources, principally petroleum and petroleum products.
There is little doubt that it would develop from the moment of its completion more than sufficient tonnage to justify the relatively low cost of its construction. Here again the rapid development of the gulf coast area has considerably increased the expectation of benefits to be derived from its construction. This project also has been too long delayed, and I urge you gentlemen to give it careful consideration.
I am aware that the limited time at my disposal does not enable me to do adequate justice to the merits of these projects, and I am aware also that the obligation of you gentlemen to examine a multitude of projects throughout the country does not permit you ample time to devote thorough study to each; yet I trust you will have suffcient opportunity to inquire mto the merits of these worthwhile projects identified with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
INTRACOASTAL CANAL, ARANSAS PASS, TEX. Another important example of such projects is the authorized realinement of the Intracoastal Canal at Aransas Pass, Tex. Construction of this short route would produce substantial savings in transportation costs; would reduce navigation hazards in the congested Corpus Christi ship channel with which the present circuitous route coincides; would provide a haven of refuge during storm periods; and would have the further advantage of opening up for industrial development a shoreline in the very center of a rich petroleum and chemical area.
As an indication of the benefits which can be anticipated from the construction of this route, it is worth noting that the tonnage now moving on that section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is 212 times greater than that which existed at the time it was authorized. There is no question as to the merit of this project and the pressing need for its prompt construction.
Much of the development which has taken place in the areas in which these projects are located has occurred since they were authorized, and I respectfully suggest to you gentlemen that the substantial expenditures which have been made by the local agencies of Government, and by the large industries which have located there, have been based in good faith on the expectation that the Congress would fulfill the commitments implicit in the authorization of those projects.
On the south Texas coast, for instance, is a small project called Little Bay, a modest shallow-draft offshoot of the Intracoastal Canal which was authorized 4 years ago. The total Federal cost of this project is only $33,000, yet local interests have voted bonds and constructed breakwaters and retaining walls in the amount of $90,000. In other words, the local participation is nearly three times the Federal Government's share, yet the work accomplished by local interests will stand there virtually useless, until the Federal Government makes its own small contribution available.
EXPENDITURE BY BATON ROUGE
A similar situation prevails with respect to the larger authorized projects to which I have referred. Baton Rouge has voted millions of dollars in bonds to complete a new and greater port on the west side of the river at Port Allen, its modern facilities being located at the proposed terminus of the authorized cutoff route of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: On the Guadalupe River in Texas, local interests have fulfilled their obligations; and industrial plants costing more than $100 million have been constructed there, on the expectation that this meritorious project approved by the Federal Government would be constructed in reasonable time.
With respect to all these authorized projects, the story is relatively the same. Local interests have fulfilled, or are fulfilling, their obligations; the rapid growth of the coast country of Lousiana and Texas has enhanced immeasurably the economic justification of these projects; planning on all these projects has either been completed or is sufficiently far advanced to permit construction to be undertaken as soon as funds are made available. We have the utmost confidence that these projects can withstand the most critical scrutiny, and we beseech you gentlemen to examine the evidence with respect to them, and to render a decision in accordance with your judgment of their worth.
Senator YOUNG. Senator Clements, I noticed that you are here with several Congressmen. We have scheduled Congressman Harris first. I think that we can get to all of you before we recess this noon.
Congressman Harris, you are appearing on behalf of the Ouachita River project.
OUACHITA RIVER PROJECT
STATEMENT OF HON. OREN HARRIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ARKANSAS
GENERAL STATEMENT Representative HARRIS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: I want to say that we appreciate this privilege and opportunity of appearing before the committee in the interest of the Ouachita River Basin in our State and the the State of Louisiana. I am very happy to be fortified with the appearance here of our very fine, able and distinguished Senator from Arkansas, Senator McClellan, and also a friend and neighbor, the very able Senator from Louisiana, Senator Ellender.
Senator Young. I do not know of two members who are more regular in their attendance here.
Representative HARRIs. The people both know of it and appreciate it.
We have here Mr. H. K. Thatcher who is the executive vice president of the Ouachita River Valley Association. I would like to present him to the committee at this time.
STATEMENT OF H. K. THATCHER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT,
OUACHITA RIVER VALLEY ASSOCIATION, CAMDEN, ARK.
PREPARED STATEMENT Mr. THATCHER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is H. K. Thatcher and I am executive vice president of the Ouachita River Valley Association, Camden, Ark.
I have a prepared statement that I would like to submit for the l'ecord. There are some attachments to it that I would like to have submitted also.
Senator Young. Your statement will be placed in the record at this point.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF OUACHITA RIVER VALLEY ASSOCIATION, H. K. THATCHER, EXECUTIVE
VICE PRESIDENT, CAMDEN, ARK. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, the Ouachita River Valley Association is always pleased when given an opportunity to appear before this committee to ask sup port for authorized projects.
Over the years the people of the Quachita River Basin in Arkansas and Louisiana, working with the Congress and the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, have arrived at a comprehensive plan for flood control and water utilization and this plan has been implemented by authorizations from the Congress for projects which were too extensive for the people themselves to handle. By July 1, 1954, it is estimated that approximately 55 to 60 percent of the entire program, as presently authorized, will be completed. We urge continued support from the Congress for the early completion of the entire program.
The principal objectives of the comprehensive plan include: (1) modern 9-foot barge navigation on the main stem of the Quachita River from Camden south, (2) flood control over the basin by the construction of water-retaining reservoirs and lakes, (3) construction of necessary levees and the employment of good land use practices, (4) drainage of the rich delta lands of northeast Louisiana and southeast Arkansas, (5) stream pollution abatement by increased waterflow from reservoirs during low water periods of the river and the proper treatment of affluents before they are returned to the river, (6) increase of stored water supply for municipal and industrial uses, (7) aid to fish and wildlife propagation, (8) recreation, and (9) hydroelectric power production.
There is presently developing a considerable interest in utilizing lake and stream water for crop irrigation.
We would like to point out here that we believe the administration has cut the overall allowable funds for civil functions work far too drastically and to a level where it is a serious economic mistake. We urge the Congress, in fairness to the American people, to restore in a lump sum at least $150 million to the Corps of Engineers' civil function budget. The corps and the people will see that this added sum is spent wisely.
We are concerned at this time with the necessity of securing adequate appropriations from the Congress for the following items which we believe are economically justified, and which to us are extremely important to the welfare of this area and the security of the Nation.
(a) Navigation, channel, and lock maintenance on the main stem of the Ouachita River from Camden south to the Mississippi River. The old locks are in a bad state of repair and the channel needs dredging and snagging in many places. The $446,500 for this work, which appears in the President's budget, is barely adequate for the job.
(0) Completion of the multiple-purpose dam at Blakely Mountain on the upper Ouachita River watershed. The $2,367,710 in the 1955 budget for the completion of this project appears adequate.
(C) Resurveying and planning on the multiple-purpose DeGray Dam on the Caddo River, a west-bank tributary of the Ouachita River. This project was authorized in the Flood Control Act of 1950 and is needed to control the devastating flash floods that generate in the 453 square miles of the Ouachita Mountain watershed above the proposed dam. The project is also essential to complete the water utilization program in the upper Ouachita River Basin.
No money was provided in the President's budget for this project, but we urge the Congress to earmark a minimum of $150,000 to get the preliminary work underway.
(d) Continued construction of the master canals in the comprehensive drainage programs for the delta regions of northeast Louisiana and southeast Arkansas. The present budget assigns $1,727,000 for canal construction on the Tensas River-Bayou Macon project, but there are other bayous, notably Bayou Bartholomew, under authorization which should have an appropriation for 1955.
(e) Completion of the flood control and drainage project in the Little Missouri River Basin, a west-bank tributary of the Ouachita River. The President's budget allows $492,000 for this work and this amount should go a long way toward finishing the job.
(f) Securing for the Corps of Engineers sufficient funds in their budget to allow them to continue their overall basin studies and to take care of the emergencies.
(9) Construction of the modified 9-foot channel in the main stem of the Ouachita River as authorized by the Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1950.
We do not consider this to be a new project, but rather the remodeling of an old project, and we urge the appropriation of the full $500,000 presently authorized with a directive from the Congress to begin this work in the fiscal year of 1954–55.
The present 612-foot navigation system on the Ouachita River, which was placed in operation in 1924, is obsolete and inadequate. Surveys by this association, which have been previously detailed in a September 15, 1953, report to the Corps of Engineers, with copies made available to members of this committee, indicate there is ample barge tonnage available in the Ouachita River Basin to economically justify the construction of a modern 9-foot year-round slack water channel with enlarged and mechanized locks on the main stem of the Ouachita River from Camden south.
Until the present navigation facilities of the Ouachita River are enlarged to permit the interchange of boats and barges used on the Mississippi River and Intracoastal Canal, navigation on the Ouachita River will remain under a severe handicap.
From 1924 until the beginning of World War II, the Quachita River did it justifiable barge business with a yearly average tonnage in excess of 270,000 tons.