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debating with and gaining over others, by being driven to take unnecessary steps, and by adjournments of business." *
The commissioners have made out their case so completely, of the unfitness of boards to manage business, that it is unnecessary to say anything more on the subject. All that is known of the proceedings of turnpike trusts corroborates the accuracy and soundness of the reasoning and conclusions of the commissioners.
In order to remedy this evil of board management of roads, a law should be made containing the following provisions: —
1. That every trust shall elect, by ballot, a chairman, a deputy chairman, and three more to form a committee of trustees.
2. That in each year every surveyor of a road shall lay before the trustees of it an estimate, showing the work to be done in the ensuing year, and the expense to be incurred.
3. That the trustees shall immediately proceed to examine the estimate, and to declare what works shall be executed in the ensuing year, and what expense shall be incurred upon them.
4. That the chairman of the committee shall have the sole direction of the execution of the works, and shall be empowered to give orders for paying for them.
5. That the chairman shall have the power of appointing and dismissing surveyors and labourers.
* Twentieth Report of the Commissioners of Excise Inquiry, p. 128.
6. That the chairman shall have the power of letting tolls; but no letting to be final without its having been first approved of by a board of trustees.
7. The chairman, deputy chairman, and committee to remain in office for three years. In case of vacancies the trustees to meet and fill them up.
8. The deputy chairman to act for the chairman in case of sickness, or absence from other causes.
9. The committee to assemble whenever they are summoned by the chairman, to deliberate and give their advice upon whatever subjects he brings before them.
10. A salary to be paid to the chairman.
11. The chairman annually to lay a report of his proceedings before the trustees.
If this plan were adopted, the following practical advantages would follow :—
1. The expenditure would be founded on well prepared and well considered estimates.
2. Instead of the management and direction of the expenditure being, as it now is, practically in the hands of the clerks and surveyors, it would be vested in persons chosen for their qualifications to transact such business by the free election of the trustees.
3. The responsibility that would be thrown upon those persons would induce them to study the science and art of road-making, and no doubt, in a short time it would be seen, not only that the expenditure was more economically conducted, but that scientific management would supersede the existing system, under which the roads are so destitute of neatness and uniformity in appearance, and so defective in solidity and hardness.
4. The business of controlling the letting of the tolls, and of deciding upon the works to be executed, would remain in the body at large of trustees.
It is only by legislating on principle, and in this way founding an efficient governing authority, that any general and useful reform can be secured of the existing turnpike trust system. So long as legislation, overlooking the condition of the fitness of the governing authority to the end in view, seeks to introduce reforms by new regulations of control to be brought into execution by boards of trustees, it will fail, in consequence of its not having attacked the cause of evil, namely, the vicious formation of the governing authority. *
- Another great evil of the existing system, which a new law should correct, is that of placing a line of road under the management of too many separate boards of trustees. With respect to crosscountry roads, it may be difficult to apply a remedy to the evil; but as to all the mail-coach roads of the kingdom, a law should be passed to provide for
* Taking into consideration the whole of the circumstances of the turnpike roads, it would appear that no plan could be less adapted to the improvement of them than that contained in the bills which were brought into the House of Commons for consolidating the trusts in the last two years. They did not contain any regulations founded on the right principles of the science of administration, as applicable to the management of road money, and to the exercise of authority over officers and workmen.
the consolidation of existing trusts, by voluntary arrangements, when they can be made; or, by taking advantage of the expiration of the existing acts, to vest the roads to which they relate under the management of the adjoining trusts, so as to have at least fifty miles in each trust. *
* Extract from Mr. Telford's first annual report on the Holyhead Road, dated May 4th 1824, p. 25: — "Perfect management must be guided by rules and regulations; and these must be carried into effect by the unceasing attention of a judicious and faithful surveyor, who has, by actual experience and attention, acquired a thorough knowledge of all that is required and applicable to the general and local state of particular districts, as regards soil, materials, and climate, likewise the sort of wear to which the surface is liable. A person possessed of all these requisites, and otherwise properly qualified to level and set out new lines, &c. where necessary, must receive the remuneration such a character merits, and may always obtain, in this active and industrious country. But however convinced and well disposed trustees may be to give this remuneration, the tolls of five or six miles do not afford the means of giving it. The consequence is, that the Shifnal trust (four miles) has hitherto been under the management of a person so little acquainted with proper road business, that it becomes a serious consideration whether it will be prudent to suffer the extensive improvement at Priors Leigh to be entrusted to his care. Until the parliamentry commissioners interfered, and showed a practical example, the Wellington trust (seven miles) was managed almost wholly by the clerk: he had a sort of foreman, who appeared to be only partly employed on the road. And on the Shrewsbury trust (seven miles), as has already been stated, the surveyor and contractor were united in the same person. All these managers proceeded without regard to any rules and regulations whatever, receiving only occasional directions from some of the most active of the trustees, whose varying opinions served more to distract than benefit the prae
Another very great defect in our legislation remains to be noticed, namely, the want of some power to control the trustees of turnpike roads, and to prevent neglect and corrupt practices. No other trustees are free to do whatever they please with perfect impunity; and no reason can be given for not making every one who takes upon himself such an office accountable before a proper tribunal for his conduct in the discharge of its duties. Dr. Adam Smith has remarked the great defect in the turnpike laws of not providing such a control. Mr. Burke says, "It is of the very essence of every trust to be rendered accountable, and even totally to cease when it substantially varies from the purposes for which it could have a lawful existence." If a board of trustees suffer the road under their care to get into a bad condition, the only remedy is to indict the parish through which the road passes; but nothing can be more contrary to every principle of justice than such a law. In all cases where trustees have the management of landed property applicable to the maintenance of buildings, bridges, and roads, proceedings may be taken against them in the court of Queen's Bench, if they
tical operations of the workmen. I must beg leave to add, that these observations are applicable to all trusts of similar extent, and are evidence of the propriety of establishing districts of a magnitude to justify a more perfect arrangement, and the employing of a properly qualified surveyor, whose sole occupation should be the road under his care, and who should also be enabled to keep constantly employed a set of workmen thorougly conversant with road operations, and working chiefly by contract."