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understanding are restored to a status quo, so to speak. If the railroads are willing to give back their holdings, the holdings that they have at the present time, I would not object particularly, but that is a question now. What do they have? What is the nature of the holdings that they have, and so forth?
Mr. MAHAFFIE. Under the act that was passed originally, in 1940, the railroads have given back the land that they still had.
Mr. DIRKSEN. Do they still own about 37,000,000 acres!
Mr. DIRKSEN. I was under the impression that was so. That was brought in on the floor.
Mr. MAHAFFIE. Great landowning railroads, such as the Northern Pacific, the Southern Pacific, and the Atchison, deeded back under the provisions of the 1940 act to the Government the land that they held. That does not include the land that they disposed of, that they had received, but that provision in that act was I think complied with by every railroad.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Except that part of the land used for railroad purposes.
Mr. MAHAFFIE. Yes; that was right of way and not considered as
Mr. MILLER. I just happened to notice that the Board of Investigation and Research has just recently gotten out some figures on that very question. It is not only the railroads that still own the land, that have to give land-grant rates, but it is the competing railroads that have to meet those rates, From what little I saw of this report-I should have a copy of it here—the figure on the reductions was enormous.
Mr. MAHAFFIE. That is now a public document and I think was only issued by the Research Board within the last week or so.
Mr. DIRKSEN. I wonder if you would put a brief statement in the hearings, as I would like to clear up my own misapprehension.
Mr. MAHAFFIE. Yes; we could furnish that statement. NOTE.--The following statement issued by the Department of the Interior on April 20, 1941, appears on p. 37 of the printed report of hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House held February 19 and 20, 1942, on H. R. 6156, a bill to repeal land-grant rates on transportation of Government traffic.
(Department of the Interior Information Service. General Land Office.
Sunday, April 20, 1941)
More than 8,000,000 acres of land in 11 Western Statesman area larger than the war-stricken Netherlands have been restored to Federal ownership with the completion of 6 months' work in closing out early railroad land grants, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes said today in announcing his approval of a formal release submitted by the Northern Pacific Railroad Co. of all further claims under its grants made in 1864 and 1870.
Under the terms of the Northern Pacific release the last and largest of the historic railroad land grants closed out by the General Land Office in accordance with provisions of the Transportation Act of 1940_approximately 4,500,000 acres of land in Washington, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming will revert to the Federal ownership for administration under the conservation program of the Department of the Interior.
Releases previously approved by the Secretary resulted in the restoration to the public domain of approximately 2.000.0000 acres of land in southern California by the Southern Pacific, and 1,600,000 acres in Arizona and New Mexico
hy the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. The value of the land is unappraised.
In addition to its relinquishment of claims to the grant lands, the rights of the Northern Pacific to timber cutting contracts on 3,600 acres in Washington, and telephone, pipe line, right-of-way and other permits and licenses on 1,200 acres in Minnesota, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming also have been assigned to the Federal Government.
Approval of the release also makes possible the termination of a 10-year lawsuit between the Government and the railroad company, based on the terms of the land grant totalling 43,159,000 acres made to the company and its predecessors more than three-quarters of a century ago.
On the other side of the ledger, the company, by the Secretary's approval of its land grant claim release, now is in a position to discontinue low preferential rates for some forms of Government passenger and freight business on its 2,262 miles of trackage, in accordance with the provisions of the Transportation Act of 1940.
Under that act, roads originally constructed with the aid of grants of public land may discontinue preferential reduced rates accorded the Government on certain forms of traffic, if as and when the roads receive approval by the Secretary of the Interior of a formal release of their claims under such grants. Although, it was emphasized today, formal approval by the Secretary of land grant claim releases submitted by the railroads clears the track for the initi. ation of increased rates for the Government business, the Department of the Interior, under the act, exercises no jurisdiction over the matter of railroad rates or the date upon which increases may be put into effect.
Marking the end of a dynamic chapter in American history, Secretary Ickes' approval of the Northern Pacific release today signalizes the close of a 90year era which witnessed the development of the United States westward to the Pacific through railroad construction aided by grants of the then-plentiful expanse of public domain. Ushered in by the Congress in 1850, with the allocation of 2,595,000 acres of the public lands for the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad, the development grew rapidly throughout the West until more than 75 grants, aggregating 158,293,000 acres, had been made. Out of this policy of encouraging railroad building by land grants sprang the 21,500 miles of trackage which today forms part of the transcontinental transportation network of the Republic.
Through the decades which followed, this vast railroad land grant empire passed through many phases of negotiations under the supervision of the General Land Office. More than 116,000,000 acres of it were patented to the roads many years ago, other tracts were declared forfeited by reason of failure to complete construction within the time limits imposed, and still other grants were formally declared adjusted and closed. Meantime, all the land-grant roads still were compelled to abide by the provisions of law which stipulated that the Government should be accorded lower rates, ranging at different periods from 50 to 80 percent of the regular tariff, on certain forms of passenger and freight traffic because of the assistance rendered by the land grants in their construction.
Finally Congress authorized the discontinuance of these lower rates in the Transportation Act of 1940, if the roads would release any further claims under their land grants, and stipulated that formal release of such claims must be filed with the Secretary of the Interior for approval, even though these grants already had been adjusted and closed. Acting upon this authority, 36 of the major systems filed releases which in their entirety involved also 71 early land-grant roads long since absorbed in the larger lines, and the last of these releases--the Northern Pacific-was approved by Secretary Ickes today.
As the ledger of the railroad land grant accounting was slammed shut after 90 years of negotiations, it recorded the Government gave the roads an empire of land and in return got built 21,500 miles of trackage, and now has obtained the return of 8,000,000 acres of land to Federal ownership. The following roads are now listed as having no further claim on the Government for any public lands:
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IMPOUNDED RATE INCREASES
Mr. DIRKSEN. I understand now that a plan has been presented either to or by the Interstate Commerce Commission asking that the rate increase that was allowed in recent months be impounded for the purpose of using it at some post-war time for the purpose of railroad rehabilitation. Is that correct?
Mr. MAHAFFIE. That is not exactly correct. The notice of hearing
That is a project set out for discussion at this reopened hearing.
Mr. DIRKSEN. But it is to be considered.
Mr. Dirksex. Some time ago the National Resources Planning
Mr. MAHAFFIE. No member of the Interstate Commerce Commission
in their report and asked for his comment. Whether his comments influenced what ultimately came out, I do not know.
OPPOSITION TO INCREASE IN PASSENGER AND FREIGHT RATES
Mr. DIRKSEN. I understand the Office of Price Administration has filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission its opposition to the passenger and freight increase. That matter is now pending before the Commission?
Mr. MAHAFFIE. That is the thing I just referred to, in Ex parte 148. Those increases were authorized and the Office of Price Administration and various other petitioners asked that they be rescinded. Now it is on that petition that this hearing for February 2 is set, to determine what shall be done.
LIMITATION ON TRAIN LENGTH
Mr. DIRKSEN. Would you say a word about train length?
Mr. MAHAFFIE. Perhaps Commissioner Johnson would be the more appropriate person to speak on that.
Mr. Johnson. With reference to train length, Mr, Dirksen, there are two States-Oklahoma and Arizona-which limit trains to 70 cars. However, military trains-Army trains—are going through regardless of length.
This limitation necessitated trains going down to those States in the length that they usually run in all other States, and when they reached, for instance, the State of Oklahoma they would have to split up in seventy cars and after crossing the State reassemble, and when they arrived at Arizona would have to split up into 70 cars again.
I sent Director King down to those two States to talk to their commissions and their attorneys general to see if there was any opposition, for the duration, to suspending that rule, and after discussing it with various interested parties in my office in the Commission, it was suspended for the duration. And I understand that they are now going through those States as they do in the other States.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Is there any limitation at all in other States?
Mr. JOHNSON. Yes. We have received no criticism at all and have a great many commendations that it had been done.
MOTOR CARRIERS SITUATION AS REGARDS TIRE RATIONING
Mr. DIRKSEN. Mr. Rogers, I wonder if you would say something about the motor-carrier situation, relative to registration, the effect of tire rationing, and whether there is sufficient bus service to ailequately take care of the demands.
ACCIDENTS ON HIGHWAYS
Mr. ROGERS. I was asked about the accident situation. The accident figures, certainly those that we have had recently, show an
actual increase. I have not seen the actual figures, but the over-all probably show a reduction in highway accidents due to gasoline rationing and the limitation of mileage.
For the vehicles that are running I expect a constant increase of accidents due to two or three causes. These is a real shortage of repair parts. There is a real shortage of mechanics to make repairs; and the vehicles are running more mileage per month than ordinarily.
EFFECT OF GASOLINE AND TIRE RATIONING ON OPERATION OF
COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES
As to the gasoline rationing it has not yet affected materially the commercial motor vehicles. We have limitation of gasoline for passenger cars, but as yet there has been no reduction in gasoline for commercial vehicles; that is, trucks and busses, other than reduction that goes with increased efficiency in use. We have been trying to get every wasted mile out of the operations and to carry heavier loads per trip and that has had some effect on gasoline consumption and on tire or rubber consumption.
As you know, the limiting factor has been rubber. We are now approaching a situation where gasoline may be the limiting factor in certain areas; we are approaching that point on the Atlantic seaboard and as the parts sitution gets worse, the parts situation may enter itno the picture as a critical item.
You understand, of course, that these repair parts are made of alloys that are used and are needed in the manufacture of parts and are of the same alloys that are so badly needed in airplanes and gun construction,
Mr. DIRKSEN. Does the War Production Board recognize the seriousness of the repair-parts situation?
Mr. Rogers. Yes; they recognize it somewhat, but like the rubber problem it is pretty hard to deal with, because many of the materials that go to make up the alloys that are so vital are not produced in this country. They have always been imported, as was our rubber, and they are exceedingly scarce. On the other hand, there is a great increase in demand. But the War Production Board has been very cooperative in trying to deal with that. It is nip and tuck most of the time between the Army and Lend Lease and our civilian equipment as to who is to get the parts.
Does that answer your question?
Mr. Case. In regard to this motor-transportation situation it has been my observation that in sections of the country where there has been no bus transportation that there is now an increased demand by reason of gasoline and tire rationing.
What is the policy of the Commission with respect to meeting that need, on the granting of applications for new bus lines or extensions?
Mr. Rogers. We have granted almost every application that has been filed, both in busses and extensions. By that I mean temporarily through emergency authorization as distinguished from permanent operations.