Page images
PDF
EPUB

The proposal is that the canal should be straightened to come out at Port Allen, La., opposite the third largest city and the city which may soon become the second largest city, the State capital, and to construct a modern lock there.

This has been authorized for many years. In 1950, Congress did appropriate a sufficient amount to actually start construction prior to the "no new start” order of the President.

Senator YOUNG. What is the benefit-cost ratio?
Colonel Dixon. 1.37 to 1.0, sir.

INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY

STATEMENT OF ERNEST D. WILSON, PRESIDENT, GREATER BATON

ROUGE PORT COMMISSION, BATON ROUGE, LA.

ADEQUATE PORT FACILITIES

Mr. Wilson. I am appearing here as president of the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission which is an executive department of the State of Louisiana created under a constitutional amendment and empowered to construct more and better and more adequate port facilities at Baton Rouge.

I am also appearing as chairman of our Louisiana State Board of Commerce and Industry which is another executive department of the State of Louisiana mandated to increase industrial activity within the State of Louisiana.

I believe this project was authorized in 1949. By referring to the sketch of the Intracoastal Canal in our area, a copy of which I will leave for the record, you will note that by the creation of the new proposed cutoff canal, from Indian Village to Port Allen, the present traffic now moving from points on the northerly sections of the Mississippi River system as far north as Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago, and points on the Ohio, they will be able to enter into the cutoff section of the intracoastal canal and join the main canal at Morgan City, La., and proceed westwardly without going through the Mississippi River and into the canal at Lake Charles, La.

CHANNEL IMPROVEMENT

The present locks at Plaquemine, La., are 260 feet long by 55 feet wide with a 10-foot sill. The project we are urging consideration for funds at this time would improve the channel to 12 feet by 125 feet, the same as the rest of the gulf waterway system.

The Corps of Engineers is giving consideration to the enlargement of the locks to 84 feet by 1,200 feet in order to accommodate the present tows on the Mississippi River and the present size barges now being used.

I am not going into the details of the alternate route from Morgan City up and into the river at Plaquemine, La., as presently constituted. I would like to point out this alternate route of the canal was planned as early as 1898 and was completed in 1909. It is the one remaining horse and buggy section

otherwise modern marine superhighway.

on

an

TRAFFIC

While the rest of the intracoastal canal gained about 20 percent in traffic, roughly 7 million tons, in 1952, the alternate route remaining virtually at a standstill at slightly more than 2 million tons.

In view of the increase in tonnage of the rest of the route, this amounts in effect to a denial of use of the alternate route. If it is not improved soon, this traffic will gradually dwindle away and the Nation will lose a variable navigable route which had been in use for almost 50 years.

The defense system will lose an alternative entrance into the Mississippi of potential immense strategic value in case of war; the people of the Nation will have to write off a capital investment, and the Port Allen-Baton Rouge area will lose an integral part of a port program on which the State of Louisiana is currently spending some $15 million.

Of course, the savings which should be available to waterways operators through the shortening of a route by 158 miles will be totally gone, too.

As you will realize, they are already losing many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because the alternate route is not available to many of today's modern tows because of the inadequate loss at Plaquemine, and because of the project depth and width. For instance, based upon the corps' figures of 1946 which estimated that tows using the alternate route saved 32 cents per ton by avoiding the 168-mile longer trip via New Orleans, a saving of $698,800 was realized for the 2,183,000 tons which actually passed over the alternate route in 1952.

It is conceivable that at least another million tons and possibly 2 million more would have used the route if the present project had been completed with consequent additional transportation savings.

COMMERCE

I would like to call your attention to the fact that the city of Baton Rouge, La., just opposite the Port Allen town on the east bank of the Mississippi River, is the fartherest inland deep sea port on the Mississippi River and one of the fastest growing in the Nation. In 1942 its traffic was 7,744,000 tons, and in 1951 the tonnage was 13,159,000 tons, almost double.

In 1952, the last year for which the corps' figures are available, it is a figure of 14,473,000. This was a rise of 1,314,000 tons over the previous year.

Most of this tonnage was provided by Baton Rouge oil and chemical industries using their own private industrial bulk-handling docks and facilities. One public wharf is now available, the old Baton Rouge Municipal Dock, which our State commission is operating under lease. However, we are in the act of creating $15 million in new public port facilities.

PORT FACILITIES

I would like to ask you to look at map B, which shows the location of our authorized new port facilities. It shows the location and you will note the shaded area on the west bank of Port Allen has been selected immediately adjacent to the new section of the alternate route, and that our east bank port site is only slightly southerly of the proposed new lock. One of the prime reasons for selecting these deepwater-port sites was their adjacency to the cutoff canal so that we could fulfill all of the Federal Government's requirements that local interests shall provide public-port facilities open to all on equal terms in connection with navigation projects.

The location of an inland deepwater port at the head of ship navigation on the Mississippi, and at the northern terminus of the improved alternate route, a leg of the intracoastal canal, offers industrial and shipping advantages which are self-evident.

We are taking a step which will certainly increase the efficiency of the inland waterway system.

In amassing the traffic in engineering figures necessary for the sale of our $15 million in revenue bonds, we have had extensive dealings and understandings with present users of Baton Rouge port facilitiesand many more who want to base future plans upon a joint use of the port and the alternate route. They are all vitally concerned that it be built at the earliest possible moment. These waterway users are not local but represent business interests from the Twin Cities down to the mouth of the river from Brownsville, Tex. to Pittsburgh, Pa.

The fiscal agents handling our State port financing consider our program interlocking with the alternate route project of the Federal Government. Both General Feringa, now retired as president of the Mississippi River Commission, and his successor, General Hardin, have assured us that the corps is ready to go ahead with the work when the construction funds are made available. Our own good faith and that of a good many movers of waterways tonnages, have been placed in the Federal Government's intent to carry out Congress' mandate to construct this improvement project.

Our port is thus a new and vital factor in the justification for immediate construction of this project for which the basic justification was established at least 10 years ago and for which the need has become more and more pressing in the interim.

I was very much interested in the preceding hearings in listening to the statements made by Texas representatives in regard to the intense industrial development on the gulf coast.

INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT May I tell the committee that in the town of Baton Rouge, La., we have three-quarters of a billion dollars of industrial investment; that we produced during the last war 90 percent of the tetraethel lead used in this country: that we produced over 85 percent of the highortane gasoline used by our Armed Forces; that we are now on the verge of an expanded chemical program in the same area and are in dirkt contact not only with our present industries but with new chemical concerns who recognize Baton Rouge, with the completion of th- alternate route, will stand at the crossroads of deepwater inland navigation, highway navigation, and rail navigation. It is a point 1:31) miles from the city of New Orleans with deep water. It is 200 II. from the Gulf of Mexico.

The instant saving to users of transportation will be so immense that the best judgment dictates that their future plans be based on Louisiana.

TRAFFIC

While the rest of the intracoastal canal gained about 20 percent in traffic, roughly 7 million tons, in 1952, the alternate route remaining virtually at a standstill at slightly more than 2 million tons.

In view of the increase in tonnage of the rest of the route, this amounts in effect to a denial of use of the alternate route. If it is not improved soon, this traffic will gradually dwindle away and the Nation will lose a variable navigable route which had been in use for almost 50 years.

The defense system will lose an alternative entrance into the Mississippi of potential immense strategic value in case of war; the people of the Nation will have to write off a capital investment, and the Port Allen-Baton Rouge area will lose an integral part of a port program on which the State of Louisiana is currently spending some $15 million.

Of course, the savings which should be available to waterways operators through the shortening of a route by 158 miles will be totally gone, too.

As you will realize, they are already losing many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because the alternate route is not available to many of today's modern tows because of the inadequate loss at Plaquemine, and because of the project depth and width. For instance, based upon the corps' figures of 1946 which estimated that tows using the alternate route saved 32 cents per ton by avoiding the 168-mile longer trip via New Orleans, a saving of $698,800 was realized for the 2,183,000 tons which actually passed over the alternate route in 1952.

It is conceivable that at least another million tons and possibly 2 million more would have used the route if the present project had been completed with consequent additional transportation savings.

COMMERCE

I would like to call your attention to the fact that the city of Baton Rouge, La., just opposite the Port Allen town on the east bank of the Mississippi River, is the fartherest inland deep sea port on the Mississippi River and one of the fastest growing in the Nation. In 1942 its traffic was 7,744,000 tons, and in 1951 the tonnage was 13,159,000 tons, almost double.

In 1952, the last year for which the corps' figures are available, it is a figure of 14,473,000. This was a rise of 1,314,000 tons over the previous year.

Most of this tonnage was provided by Baton Rouge oil and chemical industries using their own private industrial bulk-handling docks and facilities. One public wharf is now available, the old Baton Rouge Municipal Dock, which our State commission is operating under lease. However, we are in the act of creating $15 million in new public port facilities.

PORT FACILITIES

I would like to ask you to look at map B, which shows the location of our authorized new port facilities. It shows the location and you will note the shaded area on the west bank of Port Allen has been selected immediately adjacent to the new section of the alternate route, and that our east bank port site is only slightly southerly of the proposed new lock. One of the prime reasons for selecting these deepwater-port sites was their adjacency to the cutoff canal so that we could fulfill all of the Federal Government's requirements that local interests shall provide public-port facilities open to all on equal terms in connection with navigation projects.

The location of an inland deepwater port at the head of ship navigation on the Mississippi, and at the northern terminus of the improved alternate route, a leg of the intracoastal canal, offers industrial and shipping advantages which are self-evident.

We are taking a step which will certainly increase the efficiency of the inland waterway system.

In amassing the traffic in engineering figures necessary for the sale of our $15 million in revenue bonds, we have had extensive dealings and understandings with present users of Baton Rouge port facilitiesand many more who want to base future plans upon a joint use of the port and the alternate route. They are all vitally concerned that it be built at the earliest possible moment. These waterway users are not local but represent business interests from the Twin Cities down to the mouth of the river from Brownsville, Tex. to Pittsburgh, Pa.

The fiscal agents handling our State port financing consider our program interlocking with the alternate route project of the Federal Government. Both General Feringa, now retired as president of the Mississippi River Commission, and his successor, General Hardin, have assured us that the corps is ready to go ahead with the work when the construction funds are made available. Our own good faith and that of a good many movers of waterways tonnages, have been placed in the Federal Government's intent to carry out Congress' mandate to con-truct this improvement project.

Our port is thus a new and vital factor in the justification for immediate construction of this project for which the basic justification was established at least 10 years ago and for which the need has become more and more pressing in the interim.

I was very much interested in the preceding hearings in listening to the statenients made by Texas representatives in regard to the intense industrial development on the gulf coast.

INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT May I tell the committee that in the town of Baton Rouge, La., we have three-quarters of a billion dollars of industrial investment; that we produced during the last war 90 percent of the tetraethel lead ured in this country; that we produced over 85 percent of the highoctane gasoline used by our Armed Forces; that we are now on the verge of an expanded chemical program in the same area and are in direct contact not only with our present industries but with new chemical concerns who recognize Baton Rouge, with the completion of thin alternate route, will stand at the crossroads of deepwater inland navigation, highway navigation, and rail navigation. It is a point 130 miles from the city of New Orleans with deep water. It is 260 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.

The instant saving to users of transportation will be so immense that the best judgment dictates that their future plans be based on Louisiana.

« PreviousContinue »