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the Mass Transit Act. It provides an interim program of Federal aid directly to railroads, administered by the Interstate Commerce Commission in close coordination with the Housing and Home Finance Agency and the States.
We must always keep in mind that as population spreads, and as our expanding automobile population inundates our roads, mass transportation becomes a necessity to save our cities.
No nation is stronger than the economic well-being of its separate parts. As we demonstrate our national concern for Appalachia—for the farmer—for those in need of irrigation projects, so I say we must have a national concern for the urban rail commuter and for the regions dependent on the trains that take him to work. Those trains are a precious national asset. Chaos would follow their disappearance. We must never permit that chaos.
Senator PASTORE. The next witness is my distinguished colleague, Senator Pell.
STATEMENT OF HON. CLAIBORNE PELL, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, thank you for letting me appear here as a witness. I would like permission for my Legislative Assistant Orlando Potter, who has helped me with so much of this work to sit with me, if that is all right.
Senator PASTORE. Without objection, so ordered.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, I appear here today to testify in support of my bill, S. 348, to create a northeast rail authority and also as cosponsor of S. 1289, Senator Dodd's bill, to provide special assistance to preserve essential rail service.
I must say in answer to Senator Dominick's earlier question, as to whether the States had shown any efforts themselves to get together, I read a piece in the Herald Tribune this morning indicating that the Governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, indicated support for this concept of mine, specifically my bill. I do not know anything more than that press report, which was in this morning's Herald Tribune.
By word of general commentary on my bill, I should begin by saying that I would be much happier if there were no need for such a bill at all. I would be delighted if the problems of the New Haven could be worked out within the limits of private industry or by the States acting independently.
But the plain fact is that neither private industry nor the efforts of the States have been able to resolve the problem and now we are faced with the prospect of total abandonment of essential public service.
It is true, of course, that the individual States have made and are making substantial efforts. Connecticut and Rhode Island each has done its share—or more. New York at last has indicated a willingness to carry part of the burden, and Massachusetts, with its new Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, has the means for solving as much of the problem as lies within her own borders.
As laudable as these efforts are, I believe they leave unresolved a whole range of questions basic to the preservation of a coherent and efficient railroad system. Even if the efforts of the separate States could persuade the trustees to withdraw from their plan to abandon
service, the question must be asked whether the continued service could be offered on anything better than a stopgap, patchwork basis.
Given the normal vicissitudes of political life, could the trustees or their successors plan and carry out a systematic, long-range plan of replacement and rehabilitation of equipment on the basis of the support programs now available or planned in the separate States?
There are, moreover, overriding geographical considerations which are even more important today than they were in the 19th century when the New Haven system became amalgamated.
We live in an area of small States, especially when they are viewed in 20th century terms of speed. Even in the commuter service, most New Haven trains are interstate carriers.
Many of the New York commuter trains must originate in Connecticut, and many of the Boston commuter trains must originate in Rhode Island. Even in the commuter service, then, the New Haven's continuance depends on interstate cooperation. One can only surmise the continuing chaos which will result if firm and binding agreements are not made now against any future paralysis of political will on the part of one of the participating States.
The need for firm long-range commitments is even more apparent in the case of the New Haven's intercity passenger service. In spite of the developments in highway and automobile traffic in recent years, the New Haven's intercity passenger service is still considerable by any standard.
It accounted for about two-thirds of the $41 million in passenger revenues generated by the line of 1963. It is still an essential public service, particularly because the climate of our northern coastal area so often makes other modes of transportation undependable.
I must add there are even hazards on the railroads. I came down yesterday on a train and had the experience of being in a car on which rocks were fired by small boys in New York.
As a result of my considerable involvement over the past 3 years in plans for development of high-speed rail service between cities, I am convinced that the intercity service of the New Haven will be even more essential in the years to come.
We are fast approaching the time when we must make important policy decisions as to the expansion of public transportation facilities to meet needs which are now almost upon us: Should we indefinitely expand our highway and airport facilities at great public cost in thickly settled areas, or should we try to offer alternative high-speed ground service to handle passenger travel over intermediate distances in our megalopolis stretching from Boston to Washington ?
President Johnson has pledged his administration to a major program of demonstration, research, and development to explore and promote just such alternatives, and the 229-mile Boston-New York corridor together with its southern extension to Washington has been earmarked as the prototype area in which to conduct the study.
It would be a deplorable frustration of national policy if the New Haven's intercity passenger service were allowed to expire virtually on the eve of this exciting period of experimentation and development which may have such bearing on future transportation policy.
The point which I wish to emphasize, Mr. Chairman, is that the New Haven problem is a regional problem demanding a regional solution.
I therefore must say most emphatically on the record that I reject any and all proposals which provide anything less than a full regional approach or which would in any way balkanize the New Haven's service area into constricted commuter districts which would have no relationship to long-range development and which, in fact, could pose serious operational problems in fulfilling even their limited functions.
What is therefore needed, I believe, is a rational and permanent framework, organized on a regional basis, to permit an efficient resolution of the New Haven crisis. This is the intention of my bill S. 348, which would authorize the creation of a four-State public authority, by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, to own, lease, or otherwise acquire the right to operate the New Haven's passenger service on a fully guaranteed basis.
My assumption is that once such an agency takes over the passenger service, the existing New Haven company will be free to reorganize on whatever terms its owners prefer.
S. 348 is a somewhat unusual bill in that it spells out in detail the terms of the compact by which the States would create the authority. I want to emphasize that I submitted the bill in this form not because I believe Congress should presume to dictate terms to the States, but because I simply felt that in view of the urgent situation we face, a tentative framework had to be laid out as a basis for discussion and negotiation.
Also, I have acknowledged from the beginning that the bill is not a perfect plan. I expect that the witnesses may find fault with it in several respects, but I would hope that they would be prepared to offer constructive suggestions to make it work, rather than reject it out of hand. I offer the bill as a reasonable basis for reconciling a number of interests, and I hope all of the witnesses will examine it in that spirit. More important still, the members of your committee, Mr. Chairman,
The key operating provisions of S. 348 are article VII of the compact (title II) and the Federal bond guarantee (title III).
Article VII would commit each of the participating States to make up the operating deficits of the authority in proportion to the volume of passenger service rendered by the authority in each State. It would authorize the authority to repay the States in the same proportion in any year in which the authority's revenues exceed expenses.
It might be of interest at this point to enter into the record an estimate of annual passenger mileage for the year 1963 which has been supplied to me by the New Haven Railroad.
I will submit that for the record, Mr. Chairman. These figures indicate that New York generated 47 percent, Connecticut 39 percent, Rhode Island 5 percent and Massachusetts 8 percent.
I fully realize that this formula is not perfect, and I welcome any suggested improvements. I also realize that its imposition, as set forth in S. 348, may pose problems both constitutional and political in nature. In this regard, I am happy to note the language suggested in article VII of S. 1234, Senator Javits' bill, which allows for the varying requirements of State constitutions and laws.
Here I must add that I support the general approach of Senator Javits, except that it leaves out our own State, and that of Massachusetts, which obviously would make it unacceptaple from our end of the line. In fact, more than four-fifths of the language in Senator Javits' bill is exactly the same as the language in my own bill.
Senator PASTORE. Do I understand you correctly, Mr. Pell, that you prefer the language that he uses to overcome the constitutional difficulties that might be involved?
Senator PELL. No; he raises the question which is a valid one and I think that I perhaps glossed over it too quickly and I think this constitutional problem will have to be worked out.
Senator PASTORE. You mean about pledging credit of the State? Senator PELL. Yes.
Senator PASTORE. If you created an authority, would you run up against that situation, wouldn't it be the credit of the auhority?
Senator PELL. It would be the authority. I think there is a flaw here in my proposal. I can submit for the record the pertinent provişions of each of the State constitutions covering that point which I know you have available.
Senator PASTORE. Any assistance we might get along that line would be appreciated very, very much because that is a very important point.
Senator PELL. It is.
Senator PASTORE. We wouldn't want to end with Congress adopting the bill and run up against constitutional questions that might delay the operation of the bill or its effectiveness.
That is quite an important point and if we can get any assistance along that line, the opinions of legal experts or the Library of Congress, we would like to have it.
Senator PELL. Right. And I will submit for the record, if I may, a memorandum I have here of the actual extracts of the constitutions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the States of New York and Rhode Island. I understand that there is no provision of the constitution of the State of Connecticut limiting the indebtedness of that State or its authority to lend its credit.
(The memorandum follows:)
CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
Article LXII Section 1. The credit of the commonwealth shall not in any manner be give or loaned to or in aid of any individual, or of any private association, or of any corporation which is privately owned and managed.
Section 2. The commonwealth may borrow money to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, defend the commonwealth, or to assist the United States in case of war, and may also borrow money in anticipation of receipts from taxes or other sources, such loans to be paid out of the revenue of the year in which it is created.
Section 3. In addition to the loans which may be contracted as before provided, the commonwealth may borrow money only by a vote, taken by the yeas and nays, or two-thirds of each house of the general court present and voting
thereon. The governor shall recommend to the general court the term for which any loan shall be contracted.
INITIATIVE PETITIONS Section 1. Contents.—An initiative petition shall set forth the full text of the constitutional amendment or law, hereinafter designated as the measure, which is proposed by the petition.
Section 3-superseded by Article LXXIV section 1
Article LXXIV Section 1. * * *
Section 3. Mode of Originating.–Such petition shall first be signed by ten qualified voters of the commonwealth and shall be submitted to the attorneygeneral not later than the first Wednesday of the August before the assembling of the general court into which it is to be introduced, and if he shall certify that the measure and the title thereof are in proper form for submission to the people, and that the measure is not, either affirmatively or negatively substantially the same as any measure which has been qualified for submission or submitted to the people at either of the two preceding biennial State elections, and that it contains only subjects not excluded from the popular initiative and which are related or which are mutually dependent, it may then be filed with the secretary of the commonwealth. The secretary of the commonwealth shall provide blanks for the use of subsequent signers, and shall print at the top of each blank a fair, concise summary, as determined by the attorney-general, of the proposed measure as such summary will appear on the ballot together with the names and residences of the first ten signers. All initiative petitions, with the first ten signatures attached, shall be filed with the secretary of the commonwealth not earlier than the first Wednesday of the September before the assembling of the general court into which they are to be introduced, and the remainder of the required signatures shall be filed not later than the first Wednesday of the following December.
TRANSMISSION TO THE GENERAL COURT Section 4. If an initiative petition, signed by the required number of qualified voters, has been filed as aforesaid, the secretary of the commonwealth shall, upon the assembling of the general court, transmit it to the clerk of the house of representatives, and the proposed measure shall then be deemed to be introduced and pending.
III. LEGISLATIVE ACTION-GENERAL PROVISIONS Section 1. Reference to Committee If a measure is introduced into the general court by initiative petition, it shall be referred to a committee thereof, and the petitioners and all parties in interest shall be heard, and the measure shall be considered and reported upon to the general court with the committee's recommendations, and the reasons therefor, in writing. Majority and minority reports shall be signed by the members of said committee.
Section 2. Legislative Substitutes—The general court may, by resolution passed by yea and nay vote, either by the two houses separately, or in the case of a constitutional amendment by a majority of those voting thereon in joint session in each of two years as hereinafter provided, submit to the people a substitute for any measure introduced by initiative petition, such substitute to be designated on the ballot as the legislative subsitute for such an initiative measure and to be grouped with it as an alternative therefor.
IV. LEGISLATIVE ACTION ON PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS Section 1. Definition. A proposal for amendment to the constitution introduced into the general court by initiative petition shall be designated an initiative amendment, and an amendment introduced by a member of either house shall be designated a legislative substitute or a legislative amendment.
Section 2-superseded by Article LXXXI section 1.
Article LXXXI Section 1. * * *
Section 2. Joint Session-If a proposal for a specific amendment of the constitution is introduced into the general court by initiative petition signed in the ag