« AnteriorContinuar »
proposals advanced before you, will be merged into an ultimate solution from the standpoint of Federal assistance,
I would also refer to the very informative statement by Governor Dempsey to you on March 4. I am sure that you will agree that his words clearly indicate the concern of the people of Connecticut in this problem, and their conviction and resolve that a solution must be found.
In this connection, and as the Senate liaison with the Connecticut Transportation Authority, by appointment by Governor Dempsey, I am pleased to advise your distinguished body that the joint committee of finance of our general assembly, on Tuesday of this week favorably reported a bill to the senate, which would increase the bonding authority of the transportation authority to $5 million.
This bill will be acted upon in the senate this afternoon and, thereafter, in the house of representatives as quickly and as legally as possible.
This money will be used to provide Connecticut's share of the proposed Connecticut-New York-Federal Government plan for vitally needed new and rehabilitated equipment for the railroad.
A proposal accumulating $20 million, in total, will then start the second plan proposed by Governors Dempsey and Rockefeller and submitted to the HHFA bankers this week, which would find Connecticut and New York each supplying the sum of $750,000, to augment the full contribution of $3 million, the entire sum to be used as an experimental pilot project to improve rail service, and at the same time pump needed capital immediately into the ailing New Haven.
These are steps which have been developed and proposed by Governor Dempsey, and which are being done now by responsible agencies of Connecticut.
In addition thereto, and finally, allow me to assure you that an overwhelming majority in the legislature stands ready to further act in this area
as the problem is explored, and possible solutions developed. In short, gentlemen, we want you to know that the people of Connecticut, through their legislative representatives, and under the able leadership of Governor Dempsey, recognize the gravity of the problem, and are ready to meet the test in solving it.
It is on this basis, and with these assurances, that we solicit your aid.
Thank you very much.
Senator RIBICOFF. I want to say, Mr. Chairman, that Senator Hickey is one of the outstanding members of the Senate, and comes from Stamford, a community vitally interested in, and whose life blood depends on the New Haven Railroad.
And I know, when he says he speaks for the Governor, and the legislature, both Democrats and Republicans, and the house and senate, he speaks from experience, because Connecticut, since its inception of this problem, has indicated, by measure after measure, that Connecticut is willing to do its share.
And I want to commend Senator Hickey for his continued interest in a very, very difficult problem.
Senator PASTORE. Thank you.
Mr. GIAIMO. No questions.
Mr. PADULA. Mr. Chairman, Senator Ribicoff, Congressman Giaimo, Congressman Irwin, I am pleased to be afforded an opportunity to testify in behalf of the majority of the Connecticut House of Representatives, and I also want to associate myself to the remarks made by our good Governor, when he testified before your committee in Washington.
The economy of our State served by this main artery of transportation has always been our concern, since 1959, when we started tax relief, and accorded direct financial assistance to the New Haven Railroad for a million and a half dollars.
In 1963 the Connecticut Transportation Authority was established, with an appropriation of $1 million, and a bond issue of $2 million.
The general finance committee of the Connecticut General Assembly acted promptly to provide the State's participation in a joint program with New York and the Federal Government.
The Republican Party vigorously supported this legislation for $3 million additional borrowing authorization for the Connectitcut Transportation Authority.
This appropriation was scheduled for passage in the senate and house of representatives this afternoon, and I hope that we might be able to take it up today under suspension and pass it in the house.
Last night, the press and radio mentioned, on the news from Washington, that the transportation service of the New Haven has taken a turn for the worse.
As a result, some of the citizens of Connecticut, and, I believe, Mr. Chairman, that perhaps some people in your own State have some reaction.
The railroad to the citizens of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts and New York is essential to the economic life of the States.
To allow this railroad in this highly industrialized New England to collapse is unthinkable. In the event of war or national defense, only a railroad would be capable of mass movement of men and war material.
Last year 19 million tons of freight was transported on the tracks of the New Haven. In the same year 25 million passengers used the New Haven. Some for long distance, some for short trips. Many of them were commuters from lower Connecticut and Westchester County.
We know, and we subscribe to the statements attributed to you, Mr. Chairman, that there is nothing wrong with the New Haven that cash can't cure.
We are ready to carry out our full share of the responsibility to help save this rail service. Our State can't afford to lose
many fine citizens who will have to leave if this rail facility is terminated. Our towns and cities will not be able to absorb the loss created by a shutdown of freight service.
The Federal, State, and local governments would suffer from losses of tax yields caused by economic dislocation of our citizens.
The commuters, passengers and freight transportation of the New
Haven must be preserved. Mobilization of assistance from State and Federal Governments must not be allowed to die.
This rail crisis is the responsibility of leaders in all levels of government.
I pledge the best efforts of the majority party of Connecticut, the house of
representatives, to work toward a just and fair solution of the problem. We can't surrender.
Senator PASTORE. Thank you very much for a very excellent statement.
Senator RIBICOFF. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Padula is an old friend of mine, when I was Governor, who is also active in Republican leadership, has indicated his continuing concern with the railroad, the New Haven.
He, too, comes from a county which is vitally involved in the problems of the commuter.
I would like to say this, Mr. Chairman, concerning what took place yesterday.
I think that Congress and the United States should pay very little attention to Mr. Martin, even though he says he speaks for the administration.
I think Mr. Martin does reflect the thinking of the Washington bureaucracy, of the departments that he talked about.
Having been in the executive branch, I know the power that is wielded and the influence of the Budget Bureau.
In many ways, the Budget Bureau speaks louder than any branch of the Government, and very few people realize it.
And although the Budget Bureau feels that it is, I suppose, getting rid of subsidies, this is all well and good, if it can get rid of all subsidies.
But it is very apparent, Mr. Chairman, that you are not going to get rid of subsidies to the airplanes, to the shipping, to the trucking, and every other means of transportation. It is
my feeling, too, Mr. Chairman, that Congress has an obligation, that every proposal does not have to come from the executive branch, that if the executive branch proposes a merger, and Congress approves, well and good. But the Congress has a right to ideas of its own.
I also have a feeling, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Martin never did take this up with President Johnson.
Mr. GIAIMO. He admitted that.
Senator RIBICOFF. And, under the circumstances, my feeling is, too, that should the Congress of the United States adopt legislation proposed by your committee, that the President of the United States would sign this legislation and not veto it.
And it is my hope, Mr. Martin to the contrary notwithstanding, that the Congress will take the bit in its mouth and come up with a program, and pass it, and then put it right on the President's desk, and put it up to the President for signature.
Senator PASTORE. I merely want to say amen to what you already said.
There is one other thing that constitutes, in my humble opinion, an incongruity, that to me does not make any sense at all.
The President of the United States, because he is very much interested in long-haul passenger transportation on railroads, suggested a $20 million study program for high-speed trains.
Now, that, of course, is not going to happen tomorrow. It is going to take a little bit of time, first of all, before we make a good study, and then to build these trains that we are talking about.
But, where are you going to put them? Where are you going to put these fast-speed trains between Boston and New York, if you don't have a New Haven?
And this is a serious question. Here we are beginning to manufacture a house, but we haven't got a lot to put it on.
The important thing is to salvage and to save the New Haven.
Now, I want to reiterate here again, because I think I am right in the heart of the problem, being in New Haven, I think, myself, that much of the trouble that we have had in the past has been the lack of coordination between and among the responsible parties to bring about the liaison that is necessary to talk about this problem sensibly.
I think Judge Anderson gave a fine opinion. There is no question at all about it.
Those of us who are in politics know there is always an inclination to rest on your oars until the problem becomes acute. And no Governor likes to go to his people and say you must pay more taxes, and no general assembly likes to appropriate money unless it really has to.
And we had not realized, until the New Haven filed its petition to discontinue this commuter service, that the problem had reached a point of crisis.
And now it has. And now it has. And I think something has to be done.
There isn't a man in this room, there isn't a man in all New England or New York, who does not understand that we cannot afford to lose the New Haven.
I understand that the Pennsylvania and the New York Central have already agreed to include in the merger the freight service.
Well, I understand that Governor Dempsey is working out with Governor Rockefeller some solution to the problem, with reference to commuter service west of New Haven.
Governor Volpe came before our committee last week and testified he already has solved the commuter problem around Boston.
If you remove these two big commuter problems from the entire problem of the New Haven, then what we are talking about, in essence, is a deficit, an operating deficit between $6 and $8 million.
I think that the proper approach is—who knows? We can talk to the officials of the New York Central, and the officials of the Pennsylvania, and possibly they are willing to include some arrangement on a long-haul passenger service, and that might be the ultimate solution of this problem.
Now, I know that is not easy, but you never know how hard or easy a problem is unless you talk about it, unless you talk to people who are capable of resolving it.
And I quite agree wth Senator Ribicoff. We just can't sit back and say the answer is “No."
It has got to be more than that. If the policy of the Federal Government is that it will not con
cern itself in helping these railroads on the long haul, then I say, what concern is it of the Government to develop a fast-speed train? What are you going to do with it, unless you have a roadbed, and you have the rails on which to place this modernized method of transportation?
I think this is of national concern. I quite agree with my colleague. Mr. Ribicoff.
But I am not discouraged. I am not discouraged in the least, because the Governors are meeting next Tuesday in Boston, as a result of the suggestion I made to them, and this was reiterated by Governor Rockefeller, who appeared before our committee yesterday afternoon.
I think what the Governors ought to do is sit down and come up with a single proposal, both on commuter and on long haul, and then sit down with the trustees, and sit down with the officials of the Pennsylvania and the New York Central, and see if something can't be worked out.
In the meantime in the meantime I don't think the Federal Government ought to excuse itself from its responsibility.
Of course we are interested in this. We are appropriating a lot of money for airports, for airlines, for helicopters, too, and after all, the railroad is a method of transportation, and we can't afford in New England to let the New Haven die, especially the freight service.
If that dies, we die economically. And if New England dies economically, let the whole Nation beware.
Senator RIBICOFF. For the purposes of the record, I think one of the most encouraging parts of this hearing is that Senator Pastore happens to be the chairman of these proceedings. I don't think it is a greater burr on your saddle, as to the entire problem, having John Pastore handle these hearings.
I have the greatest confidence in Senator Pastore, in his mind, his imagination, and his fighting capacity, to see that something comes out of it.
I predict, too, that the New Haven Railroad will continue to run, serving the people of New England and New York.
Senator PASTORE. If you will permit me, I have to make a modification. The mayor of New Haven has come in, and I have to give him precedence.
Mayor Richard C. Lee.
Mayor LEE. Thank you, Senator. Senator, and members of this distinguished committee, our own Congressman Giaimo and Senator Ribicoff, and Congressman Irwin, of course, I am delighted to be here, and I don't intend to belabor the obvious.
We have this road, which is located basically in New Haven, with 10,000 people, and 4,500 of them live in our city or the Greater New Haven area. Loss of these jobs would increase our regional unemployment rate by 60 percent. It would be an astonishing and devastating loss. If the railroad collapses, it is going to mean a great many serious problems.
It has been estimated that a large amount of Connecticut industry will be forced to leave the State, if the railroad went out of business.
I think that our business, our whole regional economy, is tied to the business of moving people around for a short distance, ratherthan moving them for a long distance.