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Senator PASTORE. The fact remains even if the passenger service, Mr. Kirk, is discontinued, you still have to maintain those lines for freight service.
fr Mr. KIRK. That. You might notuld have to
Senator PASTORE. You might not have to have the depots and things of that kind, but you certainly would have to have roadbed maintenance, signals, and all that sort of thing.
Mr. KIRK. Yes, in recognition of that fact we are submitted from time to time abandonment petitions to the Interstate Commerce Commission to be relieved of freight service and branch lines which comprise a good big percentage of our total mileage that produce very little in the way of revenues.
Senator PASTORE. How many trains do we run from Boston to New York a day? Mr. KIRK. I don't have that figure in mind. Senator PASTORE. Could you get that in the record ?
SenatoTRE. Yes, s. Can we ination beinigence, th
Senator PASTORE. Can we find out how many people go through the depot in Boston, their destination being New York, and how many people go through the depot in Providence, their destination being New York?
Mr. KIRK. I think we can provide all of those figures.
Senator PASTORE. Someone said to me the other day that 3,000 people a day go through the Providence depot. Does that sound like too high a figure?
Mr. KIRK. I don't believe it does. For instance, forgetting our through traffic, we have 6,000 people in Boston, just on the commuter runs. And you have a lot of passengers that come out of Providence on a longer haul into New York, et cetera, as well as commuters, I call them commuters from Providence into Boston.
Senator PASTORE. I would like to get the exact—not the exact figure, a more accurate figure, if you will render it for the record. Mr. KIRK. We will see that those figures are supplied to you, sir.
(See supplemental exhibits, dated Mar. 11, 1965, submitted by the trustees, the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Co., p. 318.)
Senator PASTORE. So even the long run involves a lot of people, just as well ?
Mr. KIRK. Oh, yes.
Senator PASTORE. For how many people would you say service was provided by the New York-New Haven last year, 1964? How many people rode your trains, commuter and long haul ?
Mr. KIRK. If you will turn to exhibit 7, Mr. Chairman, you will find total revenue passengers carried, and there are additional passenger statistics in exhibit 11, but for 1963, total revenue passengers carried was 25,900,000.
Senator PASTORE. It shows here that in the year 1924 you had 45,800,000. In 1929 you had 34,300,000–
Mr. KIRK. I think you are reading the wrong column, sir. If you go back to 1924, in fact you will find 76,800,000.
Senator PASTORE. You mean 76,800,000?
Senator PASTORE. Then in 1949 we carried, I see what you mean. I was reading the wrong column—1924 was 76.8 million, 1929 was 59.4
million. In 1934 it dropped down to 29.8 million, 36,200,000 in 1939. In 1944 it was 68.3 million, 1949 it was 46.7 million. Now in 1963, the year before last, it was 25,900,000.
Now that includes commuter service too?
Senator DOMINICK. I just want to ask Mr. Webb this: You have recited for us six railroads in the eastern metropolitan area which were in trouble besides the New York-New Haven? Mr. WEBB. Yes, sir.
Senator DOMINICK. If we passed a general bill for an assistance program of the type I believe it was recommended by Senator Ribicoffwhat do you anticipate the demands might be on Congress for funds under such a bill in order to take care of these other railroads that we already know about?
Mr. WEBB. Well, the Ribicoff bill would take care of them for aif it is amended as we suggest—for a 5-year period.
Senator DOMINICK. I am talking in terms of dollars, money. Mr. WEBB. I could tell you exactly what would be available to the Erie-Lackawanna, for example, because I know that they received $2.5 million last year in State aid from the State of New Jersey.
Mr. Paolo, I will have him tell you what their maximum benefit would be under the Ribicoff bill. This is the Erie-Lackawanna. Mr. Paolo. Erie-Lackawanna would be $3,324,000. Senator DOMINICK. Per year? Mr. Paolo. Per year.
Senator DOMINICK. Could you give me I don't need any exact figures, I just want to know what we are dealing with, because to my surprise, you said that the authority in Massachusetts, to take up the eastern half of Massachusets for the Boston & Maine Railroad, had authorized $220 million worth of bonds. This was in your testimony earlier. Mr. WEBB. Yes; I believe Commissioner Tucker referred to that.
Senator DOMINICK. This surprised me because if it is for the eastern half of one State, and here we are dealing with seven railroads
Mr. TUCKER. Actually the annual deficit is in the neighborhood of $2.5 million. It is contemplated they will buy certain facilities and certain equipment. That is the total authorization, $200 million plus. But the actual passenger deficit is around $2.5 million.
Mr. KIRK. I would like to comment on that, if I may, because I am fully acquainted with it. This Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and the sums mentioned here, are to be used for many, many purposes.
The contract with the Boston & Maine is for a 3-year period, a period ending December 31, 1967. That is when the aid to the passenger service they are now operating ceases.
It is in this interim that the MBTA, so-called, will establish its own facilities, build rapid transit service to various sections emanating from the core city, et cetera, and use the proceeds from this authorized bond issue for expenditures of that nature.
The aid to railroad commuting services is limited as to time and as to amount.
Senator DOMINICK. Do you anticipate that commuter service would go out of business then, after the transport authority had gotten the other methods and means located ?
Mr. KIRK. That will be a determination by that authority. In connection with these contracts they have taken options to acquire by lease or purchase rights-of-way, involved presently in railroad transportion, subject to continued use for freight purposes, for passenger service after they take over.
Now they may find, they will be there on regulatory authority, they will determine the frequency of service, the rates to be charged, without any recourse to the Department of Public Utilities and the Interstate Commerce Commission, and will determine what they believe is the service that ought to be provided for the area. And they will operate it.
In the meantime the Boston & Maine has been permitted to, by the Interstate Commerce Commission, to cease all passenger operations. They are now operating under a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.
We have a similar petition for the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon passenger, commuter passenger service on three of the five lines in and out of Boston presently on the same basis.
Senator DOMINICK. Mr. Webb, could you or any of your staff give me an estimate of the costs which you don't have to say definitely, but in general think that this might bring about?
If we passed a bill like the Ribicoff bill and we had to take care of these six or seven railroads that you have mentioned, what would be the cost?
Mr. WEBB. No; we have not worked out the total costs, Senator Dominick. It would be we will be glad to supply that for the record, though, taking those railroads which are in distress, and are substantial carriers of passengers.
We could take those and give you the amount of aid to which they would be entitled if the bill were enacted this year.
Senator PASTORE. But the bill itself is limited to $100 million, isn't
Mr. WEBB. Yes.
Senator PASTORE. Let me ask you, in the case of Lackawanna, you showed where last year you gave them $2.5 million ?
Mr. WEBB. That was the State of New Jersey, which gave them $2.5 million to defray part of their commuter losses.
Senator PASTORE. But under the Ribicoff bill, the States themselves would have to match this on a 50–50 basis, anything we give them they would have to put up half.
Mr. WEBB. Of course, for last year the State of New York did put up $2.5 million, so under the terms of the Ribicoff bill that $2.5 million could be matched and then in addition
Senator PASTORE. In other words, you would consider what they paid last year as part of the matching funds?
Mr. WEBB. Yes; we would review their eligibility in the light of the assistance they had received in the prior calendar year and in the light of their expenses of the prior year.
Senator DOMINICK. Yes; someone said that there were 66 railroad passenger carriers in the United States as I remember, and out of these 66 they were operating their passenger services at a loss. Is this about right, or is it 63 ?
Mr. WEBB. Yes; in the statement that we filed with the committee, Senator, I think that in 1963, out of 63 class I passenger carrier railroads, all except 1 incurred a deficit and the one exception was the Long Island Railroad. However, they did suffer a loss last year, 1964.
Senator DOMINICK. Let me ask you a question on this, philosophically? What justification is there for splitting of passenger services and giving a special subsidy for it in the case of one railroad, in order to try and help out and maintain its greater services and lines for general use, and not do it in the case of others?
Any railroad that is operating a losing passenger service, it would seem to me, has an equal right to say, “We are entitled to a subsidy to make this up so that we won't have to burden our freight carrying and our maintenance and our equipment and all the rest of it with this carrying charge as a public service that we are now doing for passenger purposes."
Mr. WEBB. Yes, that is correct, Senator. I understand that the Frisco Railroad has filed or will file an application to discontinue all of its passenger service. I would think that they would be entitled, under the provision of the Ribicoff bill, to apply for assistance if they thought it would be better for them to stay in the business rather than get out completely.
Senator PASTORE. Will the Senator yield for a question at this point? Mr. DOMINICK. Yes.
Senator PASTORE. But it would make a difference whether or not you allowed that petition of discontinuance as to whether or not they were making money on the freight service. In other words, if a railroad was making $100 million a year on freight and losing, let us say, $10 million a year on passenger service they would have to go some distance to get a discontinuance of passenger service, wouldn't they? Mr. WEBB. I will ask Commissioner Tuggle to talk.
Mr. TUGGLE. Applications to abandon all passenger service is relatively rare. The Boston & Maine is the only one operating a considerable number of passenger trains that has applied to abandon them all. Ordinarily, they only apply to abandon two, four, or six trains and it is determined on the basis of the loss on those trains and whether the public convenience and necessity would require them to be kept running in the face of the loss that was incurred.
Senator PASTORE. Do you take into account the fact that they may be making money on the freight service?
Mr. TUGGLE. That is a factor, but even if the system is making money, we might still let them discontinue.
Senator PASTORE. I don't say it is a hard and fast rule but what I am making here is a distinction between that hypothetical question that you have and New Haven. The New Haven is losing money on both. The point is if they keep going on at this rate they will not only lose the passenger service, but will lose the freight service too.
Mr. TUGGLE. That is right.
Senator PASTORE. In order to save the freight service they are petitioning for discontinuance of passenger service. That is the way I understood the trustees.
Mr. TUGGLE. The statute, the discontinuance statute uses language that it constitutes a burden on interstate commerce. We look at it in that light.
Senator DOMINICK. I must say that I have a hard time seeing why in one railroad the freight should carry the passenger load, and in another railroad where they haven't generated the freight, the Federal Government should carry the passenger load because the basis for your recommendation that we move in or that the States do and the basis of this whole hearing is the fact that there is a public service involved to continue passenger service.
Now, if that public service is involved in this railroad, it seems to me it is involved in every other railroad.
Senator PASTORE. It might well be. It might well be. Mr. WEBB. Yes, the Ribicoff and Dodd bills draw no distinction as to classes of railroads or their location.'
Senator DOMINICK. Has the Commission gone into a study on the advisability of separating out passenger from freight service on the basis of public service and then as to what agencies of Government, if any, should support the passenger service?
Mr. WEBB. Our recommendation for Federal assistance was the outgrowth of our investigation of New Haven Railroad in 1960 and 1961. We had not prior to that time recommended any Federal assistance. In fact, we had indicated that we felt it to be a State and local responsibility. That view has been modified only in the sense that we see no alternative to this critical situation which exists particularly in the East and therefore, we recommend early aid as a temporary measure.
Senator DOMINICK. In other words, what I am trying to find out is whether or not there has been any thought given to a new kind of a principle, the principle on which you have lost passenger service and say this is a Federal and State responsibility, it doesn't have to be operated at a profit and we are going to divorce it from the freight and let the railroad run the freight and so on.
You have not done that?
Senator PASTORE. We have Mr. Martin and we have Mr. Kohl. We were going to conclude our hearings today at 4:30 and take it on at 10 o'clock next Wednesday. Would you prefer to testify now or come back next Wednesday?
Mr. MARTIN. Whatever you prefer.
Senator PASTORE. Would it be convenient for you to come back next Wednesday?
Mr. MARTIN. Yes, sir.
Senator PASTORE. You and Mr. Kohl are very important witnesses to these proceedings and we wouldn't want to go into it now and then bring you back anyway.
Are there any further questions of these witnesses here?
There being none, we will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 3:55 p.m. the committee was adjourned to reconvene at 10 o'clock the following day.)