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Mr. HENDRICKS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to appear in behalf of the project approved by the engineers for the deepening of the St. Johns River from Palatka to Sanford to a 12-foot depth. As you well know, this committee has already authorized the deepening to a 10-foot depth and 100-foot width, and an appropriation has already been made for that purpose. However, the engineers had not at that time approved the 12-foot project.

I understand that the committee pásed this project over the other day because a representative of the Association of American Railroads appeared opposing the project, and made the statement that it was economically unsound, and was approved only for the purpose of keeping some small shipping lines in business. This statement should be an insult both to the committee and the engineers. Never yet have I heard of the Army engineers approving of a project simply for the purpose of keeping some shipping line in business, and I doubt that this committee has found many occasions on which they found honest testimony contradicted the facts and figures as offered by our Army engineers. It is quite a little tiresome and disgusting to have the American Association of Railroads appear in opposition to almost any waterway improvement. The Association is selfish in the extreme. I suppose they have forgotten that we recently passed the land-grant bill which in the long run would add hundreds of millions of dollars to their revenues. At least I presume it is convenient for them to forget that until they can oppose these waterways.

It so happens that the St. Johns River from Jacksonville to Sanford was an artery of commerce and tourist travel in the days before we had railroads in the State of Florida. In the pioneer days it was the only travel to the south central section of the State of Florida, and at that time Palatka and Sanford were the centers of the tourist travel. In addition all freight was hauled on the St. Johns River. This commerce has continued until the present day, and while the two projects amount to something over $700,000, the benefit to the people certainly can't be judged by the expenditure. This project will serve the people of six counties directly, and much of the surrounding territory.

The St. Johns River extends 143 miles south of Jacksonville to Sanford in the production area of the State where there is available unlimited tonnage of both processed and fresh fruits and vegetables.

The area within a radius of 50 miles of Sanford will produce over 300,000 tons of processed fruit and vegetables and 35,000 carloads of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be transported by water through the inland waterways as far north as Trenton, N. J.

To take the place of the regular river boats whose operation was interrupted by the war, there is being formed at the present time a barge line that will carry these products from Sanford through the inland waterway to Norfolk, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Trenton, with an average saving to the producer of 30 percent in freight.

With the completion of the improvements of the St. Johns River from Palatka to Sanford, there will be a minimum depth of 10 feet of water from the production area of the State over the inland waterway from Sanford to Trenton, N. J., making an actual farm-to-market water route.

This will not only effect a tremendous saving to the producers of the State of Florida, but will likewise effect a saving to the consumer of these goods all over the eastern United States.

The Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, Sanford, Fla., has presented their qualifications and have been accepted by the legal department of the United States engineers to act as sponsors in obtaining right-of-way and spoil areas on this project estimated at $1,500.

I sincerely hope that this committee will not be swayed by the selfish interests of the American Association of Railroads, and so far as I am concerned, I am tired of voting for the benefits of the American Association of Railroads and then having them come in and oppose everything that would benefit my constituents, and I would like to give them this warning right now—if they continue such action, I expect to question any further legislation which would benefit them before I vote favorably on it.

Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. You say that an appropriation has already been made for a 10-foot channel throughout the length of this project?

Mr. HENDRICKS. That is right. It is in the present civil functions bill. The authorization report is to be made to the House today.

Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. But the remainder of the channel on to Jacksonville and north is 12 feet?

Mr. HENDRICKS. Yes. In fact, it is more than that from Palatka north. I think it runs from 17 feet at Palatka to 33 feet at Mayport.

There is also in the present civil functions bill an item of $1,700,000 for deepening it still deeper from Jacksonville to the ocean. So this waterway is a 12-foot depth up to Sanford. It has always been an artery of commerce in the State of Florida long before the railroads came in, and this improvement would make it in keeping with other inland waterways throughout the United States. It is a worthy project. It is one which will serve the people; and when it is said that it is economically unsound and that it was done to keep some small ship line in business, it is just a stupid statement. I am sure the committee will find from the engineers that the project is economically sound.

The only reason that the 12-foot depth was not brought in earlier is because at the time they approved the 10-foot project there had been no proposal for 12 feet. But it has been approved by the committee. The appropriation was made in the civil functions bill and will be before the House today for action on the conferees' report.

Of course I am sure that the committee realizes that the Association of American Railroads is always opposing the improvement of waterways. They realize that water transportation is the cheapest form of transportation. In fact, I think they have even said that. Of course it is. What we are doing is to try to make available to the people a cheaper form of transportation, if that is possible. That is what they pay their taxes for, and they are entitled to it.

I am sure that this committee will find this a very worthy project. Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Is there any opposition likely?

Mr. HENDRICKS. None whatever. Every county along the way, Mr. Chairman, is highly in favor of it. I have heard of no local

opposition to it at all. The sentiment all over that section of the State is highly in favor of it.

Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. In that connection, the committee has received numerous telegrams from various groups urging the adoption of this project, and, without objection, they will be placed in the record.

Mr. HENDRICKS. May I ask, Mr. Chairman, if you have received any from anyone opposed to it?

Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. No; I have not.

Mr. HENDRICKS. I do not think you will, either, except from the Association of American Railroads.

Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Mr. Hendricks, I wish to commend you for the very forceful statement you have made.

Mr. HENDRICKS. Thank you. I want to make this clear, that I am not opposed to the Association of American Railroads, or to railroads at all, because they did a splendid job during the war, and when they are entitled to something I want to vote to help them out. I did in the last bill that we passed which was sponsored by Mr. Lea. But you get very tired, when you have a project of this sort which is to benefit the people you get very tired of the railroads coming in and opposing a project. I want to help them, but I want them to be reasonable about this thing and not be eternally selfish about everything and trying to keep us from developing our cheapest form of transportation on these waterways.

Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. I am sure your people realize and appreciate the alertness with which you are looking out for their interest and the fine progress that is being made on these projects largely through the splendid work that you are doing. We appreciate your coming before the committtee.

Mr. HENDRICKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. LARCADE. I would like to observe that I agree very thoroughly with the Congressman from Florida in his remarks regarding the railroads. I am very sympathetic to the railroads, too, and I think they are entitled to full consideration; but my observation of the railroads' opposition to projects of this kind, both rivers and harbors and flood control projects, has been that the more beneficial a project is to a section, the harder the opposition from the railroads. Mr. HENDRICKS. I think you are correct in that statement.

(The telegrams referred to and submitted by Mr. Peterson of Georgia are as follows :)

JACKSONVILLE, FLA., April 13, 1946. Hon. JOSEPH J. MANSFIELD, Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.: The 12-foot channel from Palatka to Lake Monroe, Fla., recommended by the engineers, is an essential and needed improvement in Florida's waterway system. We respectfully urge the committee's acceptance of the engineers' recommendations after railroad have registered their objections. Ask that the bill be not closed before they register their protest and the committee acts on this item. With every good wish to you, Judge.

WALTER COACHMAN, JR., Chairman, Waterway Congress.

ORLANDO, FLA., April 15, 1946. Hon. J. J. MANSFIELD,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.: We urge your support in following the recommendation of the United States engineers authorizing 12-foot channel, St. Johns River. The benefits derived will help entire central Florida.

GREATER ORLANDO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
A. C. SLAUGHTER, Secretary.

ORLANDO, FLA., April 15, 1946. Hon. J. J. MANSFIELD,

Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee, House Building: The citrus and vegetable industries of Florida and the Florida Citrus Commission, whom we represent in all traffic and transportation matters, respectfully, yet seriously, request your committee follow the recommendations of the United States engineers for authorization of 12-foot channel on St. Johns River project.

GROWERS AND SHIPPERS LEAGUE OF FLORIDA,
JOHN A. O'ROURKE, Secretary and Manager.

PALATKA, FLA., April 13 ,1946. J. J. MANSFIELD, Member, Congress, Care Rivers and Harborg Committee,

, Washington, D. C. Urge that your committee accept United States Engineers' recommendation and authorize 12-foot channel, St. Johns River.

PUINAM COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
E. H. SIMS, President.

SANFORD, FLA., April 13, 1946. Hon. J. J. MANSFIELD, Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee,

House Office Building, Washington, D. O. People of our community and all of central Florida urge you to follow recommendation of United States Engineers regarding 12-foot channel in St. Johns River, Palatka to Sanford, and disregard protest of railroads, who have attended all public meetings and filed their protests there.

CENTRAL FLORIDA, INC.

SANFORD, FLA., April 13, 1946. Hon. J. J. MANSFIELD, Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee,

House Office Building, Washington, D. O. People of our community and all of central Florida urge you to follow recommendation of United States Engineers regarding 12-foot channel in St. Johns River, Palatka to Sanford, and disregard protest of railroads, who have attended all public meetings and filed their protests there.

SEMINOLE COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

SANFORD, FLA., April 19, 1946. Hon. J. J. MANSFIELD, Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee,

House Office Building, Washington, D. C. People of our community and all of central Florida urge you to follow recommendation of United States Engineers regarding 12-foot channel in St. Johns River, Palatka to Sanford, and disregard protest of railroads, who have attended all public meetings and filed their protests there.

H. JAMES GUT, Mayor.

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SANFORD, FLA., April 13, 1946. Hon. J. J. MANSFIELD, Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee,

House Office Building, Washington, D. O. People of our community and all of central Florida urge you to follow recommendation of United States Engineers regarding 12-foot channel in St. Johns River, Palatka to Sanford, and disregard protest of railroads, who have attended all public meetings and filed their protests there.

ST. JOHNS RIVER IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., April 13, 1946. J. J. MANSFIELD, Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Committee,

Congressional Office Building, Washington, D. C. We wish to request that your committee follow the recommendations of the United States Engineers and authorize 12-foot channel on St. Johns River to Sanford as the full development on this river absolutely essential to development and prosperity of this State in assuming its responsibility to the Nation in solving its postwar problems.

FLORIDA RAILROAD COMMISSION,

JERRY W. CARTER, Commissioner. The CHAIRMAN. We will adjourn to 10:30 o'clock Monday morning.

(Thereupon, at 4:50 p. m., Friday, April 12, 1946, the committee recessed to reconvene Monday, April 15, 1946, at 10:30 a. m.)

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