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In my county there are 14.6 miles of the right-of-way of the New Haven Railroad. On that right-of-way we produce annually 16,650 daily passengers, from the outer limits of our county into and out of Grand Central Terminal.
Connecticut, in its Fairfield County area, matches that number of passengers by providing a similar number that commute from the Fairfield area into and out of Grand Central through Westchester County.
Contrast this with 9,800 persons who at the present time and out of New York by automobile from our county, utilizing the same roads and highways that I did today, the New England Thruway and parkways to get into and out of New York.
The point I make there is this, that should the plan of the trustees to curtail freight service in Westchester County, followed by an abandonment of passenger service and the commutation service on the Westchester end of the New Haven Railroad, should that come about, calculating two persons per automobile, which is about the average, it would take 100 acres, gentlemen, of land in the city of New York to provide parking areas for those automobiles alone, to say nothing of the traffic tieup that would be caused by an additional 16,000 cars coming into and out of the city of New York, on our already choking highways, carrying people to and from work.
I am not going to belabor the point, as it has already been so ably put by you gentlemen, but, let me say that my county, in the past, has cooperated wholly and completely with the Connecticut Transportation Authority, its chairman, who is here today, Frank Reinhart, with Senator Ribicoff, when he was Governor, and Governor Dempsey now.
On county, despite the fact that it only has 14.6 miles of right-of-way in Westchester County, voted to put up $400,000 so that the plan of Governor Dempsey and Governor Rockefeller to provide $20 million, and thereby provide 80 new commuter cars, could be accomplished.
And, in that respect, we are matching dollar for dollar the amount of money that Connecticut was putting up for the constant operation and maintenance that is required in order to relieve the New Haven Railroad of its burden.
I was very disappointed yesterday when I saw the headlines in the paper, and, today, coming up here, I feel that my trip has been worthwhile, because I have been reassured by your statement, Mr. Chairman, and by Senator Ribicoff. The statement of Secretary Martin is nothing new.
I heard practically the same thing in 1962, in the month of May, when we met with the trustees up here in New Haven, and we were discussing Federal participation in the problem of the New Haven Railroad.
It would seem to me that all levels of the government, county, municipal, State, and Federal, have a stake in this New Haven Railroad, and I quite agree with you, sir, not only will there be a blight on the New England States if the New Haven Railroad dies, but my own county of Westchester, the city of New York and State of New York will also be vitally affected.
So we look forward to a continuing cooperation with the Governors of the States involved, with the mayor of the city of New York, and with you, our Senator, and Representatives in Congress, to participate in saving the New Haven right-of-way, that very, very valuable rightof-way ,which must be retained and in keeping the railroad going.
If there is anything further we can do to cooperate, we shall certainly accept our share of the responsibility.
Senator PASTORE. Thank you very much. .
STATEMENT OF HOWARD S. CONGDON, CHAIRMAN, TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE,
GREATER PROVIDENCE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity of appearing before you today.
My name is Howard S. Congdon and I am the traffic manager of the Cranston, R.I., plant of the Grinnell Co.
I appear here today, however, as chairman of the transportation committee of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has a membership of almost 1,100 firms, represented by over 1,800 individual memberships in the Greater Providence area.
For some time we have been disturbed at the continually decreasing revenue of the New Haven Railroad and the ever present, and I might say, increasingly possibility that the New Haven might cease operations.
Providence is a city of slightly over 200,000 people and with a commercial area of nearly 1 million. The only railroad service in Providence, or in Rhode Island, is the New Haven Railroad.
The chamber supported the petition of the New Haven Railroad to be included in the New York Central-Pennsylvania merger and the former chairman of the transportation committee appeared at the hearing of the Interstate Commerce Commission in support of the New Haven's petition.
We are firmly convinced that a cessation of operations by the New Haven would cause severe, if not irreparable, damage to the economy of Rhode Island and southern New England.
The cessation of freight operation would be a catastrophy, and many Rhode Island firms would have to cease operations, including ourselves. I am told that annually about one-quarter-million riders now move between Rhode Island and New York City on the New Haven, while nearly one-half million move between Rhode Island and Boston. The elimination of service for these passengers would work a severe hardship on them. Many of these would then have to travel by car, throwing an added burden on our already crowded highway system. With the billions spent on highways, which in many areas are reaching the maximum volume of vehicles, it appears logical that an increase, rather than a decrease, in rail service should be sought to ease the highway overload.
It appears that some form of subsidy is necessary for the New Haven Railroad if it is to continue operations. I realize that subsidy is not a matter which is looked upon with favor by many. However, much of the service rendered by the local service air carriers, including two carriers serving Rhode Island, is subsidized. It is my understanding that without this subsidy by the Government, these airlines could not operate. We recognize the necessity of the operation of these airlines, and we feel that the continuing operation of the New Haven Railroad service is even more necessary to the economy of Rhode Island.
For these reasons I appear here in support of legislation which would grant the necessary subsidy to the New Haven Railroad.
We support the position taken by Gov. John H. Chafee on this legislation when he appeared before your committee in Washington last week.
Thank you again for the opportunity of appearing before you and expressing the views of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.
Senator PASTORE. Would you be a little more explicit, Mr. Congdon?
When you said, "including ourselves," meaning you might have to cease industrial activities in Rhode Island, why would that be so?
I think the record ought to be a little more explicit
Senator PASTORE. In that regard, because I think, myself, here we are actually getting into the core of the whole situation.
If the ICC should decide against the merger for any reason, then here we are, we are left with a deficit of about $17 million a year, which means $6 million freight, and the remainder for passenger service.
Now I realize that is one of the reasons why the trustees were permitted to file their petition for discontinuance of the passenger service, in order to save the freight service.
But I think it is quite important at this juncture to elaborate on what
you mean. Now, the Grinnell Co. employs how many people in Rhode Island ? Mr. CONGDON. In Rhode Island, about 1,800. Senator PASTORE. About 1,800 people? Mr. CONGDEN. Yes.
Senator PASTORE. To what extent do you rely on the railroad for freight transportation ?
Mr. CONGDEN. Last year, 1964, we controlled the Grinnell Corp., the home office, incidentally, is in Providence, R.I., we controlled about 10,000 carloads of freight last year.
Out of that, about a thousand moved in and out of my plant at Cranston, R.I.
Now, if we don't have a service that is maintained by the railroad, and here we are talking about a plant at Cranston, R.I., which was built for the employment of 1,800 men-incidentally, where we have five tracks right within the plant operation—the whole setup of the plant is built around a rail operation—now, if we don't have the limestone coming in from Mississippi, coming in by rail, to service this foundry, we are lost.
Senator PASTORE. We have no further questions of you, Mr. Congdon. We thank you very much for coming in.
All right, Mr. Bassett.
Senator PASTORE. Good for you. Identify yourself for the record, please.
Mr. BASSETT. My name is Harold Bassett. I am president of the Connecticut Taxpayers Association. I am not speaking for either of the political parties. Nor am I speaking for the chambers of commerce, or for the commuters, who apparently want to have someone else pay for a part of their ride.
I want to commend you, Senator Pastore, for making it possible to have this hearing in New Haven. It is quite unusual, in my 70-odd years of experience and observation to have problems brought to the grassroots that concern the Congress of the United States.
I feel, gentlemen, including Congressman Giaimo of this district, and the distinguished Senator Ribicoff, as well as the distinguished chairman of this committee, and Mr. Irwin, a Congressman from the Fairfield County district, that we are indeed very fortunate in being able to address our remarks to you gentlemen of this committee, because you stood for office, you were successfully elected in office, and, as a consequence of your position, I hope you, Mr. Chairman, will be as dynamic, as forceful, as energetic, as persuasive in the Senate as you have been here this morning, with regard to revitalizing the New Haven Railroad.
I don't believe it is necessary for anyone to convince this distinguished committee or anyone else that it is necessary to have the New Haven Railroad continue.
The New Haven Railroad is not a new affair. I can recall from my memory when the stock of the New Haven Railroad was $245 a common share, and was considered a widow's and orphan's investment, and legal for trust funds. Today it is not.
It has been through the process of receivership, as you gentlemen know, and not once, but more than once.
I share your comments, distinguished Chairman Pastore, when you say there is nothing the matter with the New Haven Railroad that money won't help.
But I amend that to say that, in addition to money, you need good, efficient management, and that is where we have not succeeded.
It is because, when you have a president of the New Haven Railroad not so long ago who is very likely distinguished in the field of law, but not in railroading, and that, from memory, I believe he received $75,000 a year salary, and the law firm with which he was connected in Boston was said to have received about $400,000 the same year, and when you open the spigot and siphon off these sums of money, from a railroad that is struggling for want of money, then, it seems to me, that this is very critical of management.
By reason of the fact that this committee here present this morning are Members of Congress, it is my feeling that this matter should be subsidized by the Federal Government because, as we, or, rather, you, the representatives of the people of the United States, can vote to devise ways and means to get to the moon, and ways and means to give money by putting it practically through a firehose and pumping it around the world, to buy friends, and the friends, regrettably, are running out before the money does, this is not charity that we are asking the Federal Government to indulge in, but it is the supporting and putting on to the main line an economically functioning, meritorious value known as the New Haven Railroad.
Speaking for the past, if I may, and for a moment only, Mr. Chairman, I had the good fortune to know the late treasurer, Augustus May, a resident of Bridgeport, that was with the New Haven Railroad 50 years ago. I used to take the train from Bridgeport, Conn., to New Haven, when I was in the investment banking business for 25 years.
We discussed finances, and Augustus May stated that one of the greatest brunts in the New Haven road was the amount of taxes they had to pay in Massachusetts for the use of the Boston and South Stations, and the New York Central, in the case of the Grand Central Station.
Now, by reason of the fact that most municipalities, from my observation and knowledge, in the State of Connecticut, are having great difficulty getting enough money to meet the obligations of their budget for their schoolteachers, for their sewers, for their highways, and all the rest that you are all too familiar with.
I feel that when it comes to asking for money to revitalize the necessity of the New Haven Railroad, we should address that problem to you gentlemen, who are Members of Congress, and I hope you will talk long and loud, to see to it that the Great White Father gives us a piece of the pie in the sky, as he is said to be giving many others.
With regard to the control of the Interstate Commerce, with regard to the Federal Congress and the Supreme Court, you, of Congress, have control of all of them.
Now, with regard to the subject of finances, which is your theme, there is nothing wrong with the New Haven Railroad that money won't help; how can you possibly expect matching funds or any other suggested financial remedy from the States involved when we are pouring billions, not millions, if you please, God knows where, and no return.
Plus the further fact that I have, upon reliable information, a reprint from the New York Times, where the loss on passengers in 1959 was 12.6 million; 1960, 13.3 million; 1961, 12.3 million; 1962, 10.9 million; 1963, 8.6 million; 1964, 11.8 million.
Now, with regard to the decline of the passenger line in 1959, it was 23 million; in 1960 it was 20 million; 1961, 18 million ; 1962, 14 million; 1963, 14 million; and 1964, estimated at 131,2 million.
There is no substitute for good management or for the money with which to keep the line running. It is not a question do we need it. It is a question we can't do without it.
But, if we subsidize the building of a thruway in Connecticut, with an expenditure of over $400 million, wherein we afford the railroads truck competition, if we afford subsidies for the airplanes, if we afford subsidies to the farmer, and say to him, "Don't plant so many acres, we will pay you not to produce," it seems to me that I don't know of any argument that you gentlemen can't use that will persuade the others in Congress, who are supposed to cooperate with you, to see to it that you, from Rhode Island, Senator Ribicoff from Connecticut, and the two distinguished Congressmen of Connecticut, are assisted from the source that we all should be assisted from.
Now, with regard to the local issue, I don't have to tell you, Mr. Chairman, that the ICC has the exclusive control of interstate commerce, not intrastate commerce.
And, if there is any doubt in your mind, I hold in my hand the United States Supreme Court Decision of the Southern Railroad.
Yes, thank you, sir; I know my 10 minutes are up.
Senator PASTORE. Go ahead and finish. You are a breath of fresh air. Keep going
Mr. BASSETT. Thank you.
I hold in my hand the report of the Supreme Court of the United States, where the Southern Railroad wanted to discontinue two trains, namely No. 7 and No. 8.
Why? Because they were not profitable.
There is a parallel with what you have been hearing a lot these many weeks. We want to discontinue passenger service of the New Haven because it is not profitable.
Well, who is it that got it into the deplorable conditions? It wasn't the Members of Congress. It wasn't the taxpayers of Connecticut. It was the mismanagement of the railroad.
And, so, if, in the wisdom of you gentlemen, and your ability to deal, if you can come up with a plan where the Federal Government will pay up the money, why, the money suggested by the State of Con