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Only last night I attended a meeting where the Mamaroneck group joined us, and the night before the Darien group joined us.
And there is a growing awareness that you are going to have a disaster area, instead of a greatly rich area, and also a blight area, if passenger service is not preserved. This a fact, and the people are beginning to realize it.
But, finding support for our organization today is coming from, it is not the commuters, this is not a commuters organization. It is coming from the businessmen, the realtors in the communities affected.
In the town of Greenwich alone, we have collected approximately $8,000 from the bank and real estate people, because they realize the serious impact that the loss of the railroad services would have on our whole community.
In connection with holding this meeting here, so we could present our views, I want to say there was one little added feature, and I would like to introduce Bill Harden here, who is from the Greenwich High School, who has come here to observe a Senate hearing.
I think it is too bad there was not more publicity of this, so more of our schoolchildren could have attended this meeting, and I hope in the future, when you are going out into the hinterland, Senator, that you get a little better publicity for that purpose.
Senator PASTORE. Mr. Harden, we want to afford you all the courtesies. So, come on up and sit next to this gentleman. Sit right there.
Mr. Rosan. Senator Pastore, the one thing that I think is being misunderstood is that the crisis of the New Haven Railroad of discontinuing service is not something that is going to happen. It has happened. It has happened right now.
The best illustration I can give you is that the train that I have historically used out of my station in Riverside, Conn., to go to New York, has practically disappeared, because of lack of equipment.
It used to be a fine eight-car train, using 1954 equipment. Suddenly it turned up one day as a seven-car train using 1921 equipment. Gradually this 1921 equipment has been falling apart, so today if the train pulls in at all, it pulls in with one or two old cars.
We have subjected 25,000 people who use this train daily to some of the most intolerable services and delays. This has been going on for 3 years.
The crisis of the commuter is here today, and one of the reasons it is worse off is that for 6 months we had been hoping that the means would be found to order 80 new MU cars, and yet today, that order still is not in.
And this has something to do with two of the bills that are before you today.
Senator PASTORE. May I ask you a question? At this juncture, if the modernization of those cars took place, let's assume those 80 new cars came into being, would that increase the passenger rate?
Mr. RosaN. I don't know whether it would increase it.
Senator PASTORE. Are we talking here about more profits or talking about a deficit of $6 to $7 million for maintenance ?
Mr. Rosan. I am just saying it is the only way you are going to be able to continue the service.
The petition by the trustees to abandon service in New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon and Pelham, involves 6,000 commuters. And the only reason I assume they are doing it is to get rid of 6,000 commuters at the lower end of their line, where they get the least revenue off it, and then they will have the new cars to take care of the other commuters.
The 80 cars are needed to replace these old cars which are breaking down, and so it is merely a matter of continuing existing services for existing passengers.
That is what the problem is, and if we don't get those 80 cars quickly, I don't care what the ICC orders, or anybody else orders, there won't be any service. This is the crisis.
Senator PASTORE. The point I am making is this, sir-I don't think we have, more or less, crystalized this.
Are you saying that because of the dilapidated condition of the cars, people are using their automobiles or finding some other media of transportation ?
Mr. ROSAN. To a certain extent.
Senator PASTORE. Or, are you actually saying that it won't make much difference?
What we are talking about here is profit and loss. What we are talking about is lack of cash, not lack of comfort or more comfort.
The point I am trying to make at this juncture, and I would like to get this into the record, there has been so much talk about these 80 cars. An application is being made under the Urban Mass Transportation Act, whereby the State of Connecticut will put up $5 million, the State of New York will put up $5 million, and the Federal Government will put up $10 million.
I mean, that is the proposal. Of course, if it will come to pass, we don't know yet, because the Housing and Home Finance Agency will have to make that adjudication.
Now, suppose the money is intended to buy new cars and to modernize the existing cars. Will this money have anything to do with eliminating the operating deficit ?
Mr. Rosan. I think it will help. It will reduce their operating and maintenance expenditures. It will help considerably.
Senator PASTORE. Considerably?
Mr. Rosan. Surely. I am sure it will. But I know enough about business, when you get new equipment, that is what happens.
With this old equipment, every time it breaks down, it costs a thousand dollars to fix; it is going to add up in the operating expenses.
Senator PASTORE. That is a very sage answer.
Mr. Rosan. But the important thing is, of course, it would be by the end of 1968 in order to get this equipment, but I understand, for example, that under this program that is being worked out now, we are going to get about $442 million available for your operating deficits right now, for maybe 20, 24 months. This administration will have it in operation for about 4 months, before they will consider the $10 million for the cars. That is 4 months from now, and then it will be 18 months before you get the new cars.
And we are talking about 20 to 24 months. And, frankly, Senator Pastore, I don't believe we can now protect the people until that day. Something is going to break down.
There is another factor that I think is overlooked in this problem.
In 1961 a study was made by the New York State Office of Transportation, and they hired an expert, and he reported the deferred maintenance on the New Haven Railroad in the year 1961 was somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 to $6 million.
This deferred maintenance has been going on for year after year before 1961 and since.
I daresay that the deferred maintenance on the New Haven Railroad today is somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 to $75 million, possibly.
It is a safety program. We are running the risk every day, in my opinion--and I know the trustees disagree in this, but I ride the trains maybe more than they do—we are running a risk of having a wreck on that railroad some day with some of this dilapidated equipment. It is just going to break down, and there is going to be an accident.
This is a safety problem. And, when people saw those headlines yesterday in the New York World-Telegram, of having a member of the Commerce Department-and I want to make a distinction between bureaucrats and people like you are, elected representatives, and you are responsible for the people, and these others are the bureaucrats. If he can't understand that the public need is so great to save this railroad, that man really does not have a place in our Government as a bureaucrat.
This is a serious problem and it has been getting more serious every
I have been writing letters, Senator Pastore, to Governors and Senators for years about this railroad situation. So this is not a new problem to us.
In retrospect, I would like to talk about our program.
And all I care, Senator Pastore, is that somebody, and I hope you are the one, or somebody under your excellent leadership, will call a big meeting of the people, the Governors, the Senators, the Representatives from the affected area, the Chairman of the ICC, the trustees, representatives of the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad, and put them all in a big room, and ask them, “How are we going to do this? How are we going to solve the short-haul problem to keep this thing going for the next 2 years, until we solve the longhaul problem?"
Now, our problem simply is this, somebody has got to fork out some money for immediate short-term aid to keep the operation going, the operating deficit.
Senator PASTORE. That is the Ribicoff bill.
Secondly, we need money right now to help rehabilitate existing
Senator PASTORE. To answer your question, Mr. Rosan, that is precisely what I have been trying to do.
I think this is the first time, in this critical problem of the New Haven, that we have brought into the same room all these divergent points of view.
The Governors, trustees, members of the ICC, I had them sitting together.
There have got to be negotiations in good faith. We have to sit down, as reasonable people, and say, well, this much of the operating deficit is attributable to the commuter service west of New Haven. Without the idea that we are going to take advantage of it here, and push the load off on somebody else.
Now, it is very significant that Governor Rockefeller brought in experts from New York.
They have this thing all figured out, that the deficit of the commuter service west of New Haven was only $400,000 a year.
Mr. Rosan. That was in 1961, a study by Mr. Edwards.
Mr. Rosan. Of course it is. That was all done for a specific purpose.
Senator PASTORE. If we are going to begin to talk like that, we are never going to resolve this problem, of what we should do.
They get $5 million coming out of the properties in the Grand Central, and they say this is applied to the commuter deficit.
What did you do with the rest of the money?
Senator PASTORE. If they begin to talk like that, we all are wasting our time.
Somebody has to sit down and look at this thing objectively.
All right. We can sit here and criticize these trustees. And sometimes I have been guilty of the same offense.
But they are three dedicated people, who have nothing personal to gain.
Now, it is true that somewhere along the line, somehow this railroad has to be managed by people who are absolutely proficient in the field. It can't go on this way forever.
The trustees have a special function to perform here under the order of the Court, and what they have been trying to do is to save the railroad until the reorganization is completed.
I think we have reached the point of reorganization, and you can't do it without cash. You can't do it without cash. And that is the basic problem we have here.
Now, the truth is that some people are saying that the passenger service ought to be included in the merger. Truthfully, I would like to see that happen. I am one of those who thinks it could happen.
I think something ought to be done about the commuter service on the Federal/State level insofar as west of New Haven is concerned and around the Boston area, and then to see if we can persuade the Pennsylvania and the New York Central to take in the long haul.
After all, if the merger goes through, they stand to save $100 million. That is the testimony before our committee.
And, after all, why can't they absorb the deficit that may be minimized when modern trains come in. It amounts to $6 or $7 million. You must realize that this feeds their lines south of New York, from Boston right down to New York.
The termination of the passenger service would mean that thousands and thousands of passengers would be taking a plane and not riding a train.
We have to sit down and talk about these things. That has not happened. We have been waiting. We have been waiting for George to do it.
Then we find out that George is dead. George is dead, he just isn't there.
This is the crisis, so we better get on our bicycles here and begin to move fast.
Mr. Rosan. Senator, I can't think of anyone who could do that job, one with leadership, better than you.
Senator PASTORE. I was not looking for a compliment, but it is nice to hear it.
Mr. Rosan. Senator, the problem that Mr. Bassett sort of touched on does raise a problem in our mind, and that is the question when you start using Federal funds or State funds, any public funds, whether those funds should be used by private organizations, and, for that reason, after much study of this problem, at least for the commuter end down here in New York and the New Haven area, our group is convinced that there must be some kind of an authority to run the commuter or passenger service,
And, for that reason, we associated ourselves with these bills that are before your committee, to create the enabling legislation, that will provide for a bi-State or four-State authority that can handle this problem, with a long-range concern.
This is the only way to avoid the problem, I think, that Mr. Bassett is concerned about, of mismanagement and so forth, of public moneys.
It certainly would be a worry if I were an elected official.
Mr. Javits' bill creates a two-State authority. The Pell bill creates a four-State authority. I hope that the four-State authority bill is enacted.
I can see why, from the standpoint of the people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, they would want a four-State authority.
I would hope you would extend it in such a way that it would provide the authority would become operational as soon as two States had joined in it.
And the reason why I make this suggestion is that we have had the unhappy example of the so-called Tri-State Transportation Authority which the Governors of New York and Connecticut pushed in 1963, and in which, up until yesterday, as far as I gather, New Jersey has refused to join.
It may be they would join for a limited purpose, as of yesterday, 2 years later.
I think it would be a tragedy if the authority to at least look at this commuter problem for a long-range solution in the New York-Connecticut area should be delayed.
I am not asking this because of the State or anything, but just because the administrative difficulties, legislative difficulties of getting the other two States to join, too, and I think that the four-State authority bill, if it is the one to be seriously considered, should be amended to take care of that problem.
Senator PASTORE. The only trouble with that, Mr. Rosan, is this, as I look at it-of course, if it finally resolves itself, gets to the merger stages, let's say, west of New Haven, you can readily see how the two authorities that is, the two States of Connecticut and New Yorkwould look to salvaging that part of the commuter service.
But the thing that disturbs me about the authority becoming effective with two States ratifying it—and I am not excluding it, I think you make a lot of sense, I raise this question just to provoke your thinking and to get your comments on the subject—the Pell bill and the Ribicoff bill, both provide for matching funds.
The Dodd bill is an outright grant. The Dodd bill is liked by the trustees, and liked by a lot of other people.