« AnteriorContinuar »
service during this period of crisis and working toward a thorough modernization that is needed for the future.
I look forward to working with Senator Javits and Congressman Reid and other New York legislators in developing the bi-State compact that will ultimately be needed.
Senator PASTORE. Our next witness is Mr. Christensen.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. My name is Tom Christensen. I represent the General Chairmen Association of the New Haven Railroad. This organization is composed of all the general chairmen of the labor organizations on the railroad.
I realize, Senator Pastore, that you have had a hard and long day, and that you have heard a lot of testimony, both from the common labor people and others, and I am not going to be repetitious, or anything else.
We realize there are several bills before your committee.
Evidently the one supported most of all seems to be the Ribicoff bill, and next seems to be Senator Pell's bill.
We realize, too, that Governor Dempsey, Governor Rockefeller, and all the others are now working hard, and have worked hard, to bring about some solution to this problem.
We, as the working people, or those of us representing the working people on this railroad, and, in fact, all the employees, realize the serious financial condition this railroad is in. And the jobs of the men we represent depend on the existence of this railroad.
I want to have you bear in mind, Senator, that most of the employees that are now working, because of the drastic force reductions that have been brought about in this railroad, whose curtailment for possible economic reasons or other reasons, that they wanted to save on payroll, those men today are in an age bracket, if they had to out and attempt to secure some other industry, work in some other industry, it would be practically impossible, because they are railroad men, and they know the railroad trade, and any branch of it, is different from the outside, even though it is close.
So, Mr. Chairman, we will ask that your committee take into consideration the benefits in all the bills that have been placed before your committee, give them careful consideration, and not only for the benefit of the railroad employees, but also for the traveling public that depends on the passenger service, and for the people that are working in manufacturing and in industry as a whole within the State of Connecticut, that depend on this railroad for transportation purposes.
We ask you, and we solicit your support to carefully go over the testimony that has been put in today and in the previous hearings of your committee, and what the Governors of the various States do, and if possible come out with a bill that could take this railroad out of its present financial situation and give it a boost, and thereby preserve the jobs of our members.
Senator PASTORE. All right. We are now at the hour of 4:20. I assume this is the last witness.
Mr. BROWNING. Mr. Chairman, my name is L. L. Browning. I am the traffic manager of the Trailways of New England, Inc., which has its offices at Washington, D.C.
I have a prepared statement here, which is very short, but with the possibility of still shortening it further, I would like to put it into the record, with a summary, if it is satisfactory to you.
Senator PASTORE. It certainly is. Without objection, the whole statement will be inserted in the record.
(The statement by L. L. Browning follows:)
STATEMENT OF L. L. BROWNING
My name is L. L. Browning. I am traffic manager of Trailways of New Eng. land, Inc., with offices at Washington, D.C.
Oour interest in these preceedings is related to the long-haul aspects rather than the local commuter phase.
Trailways of New England operates buses from New York, N.Y., to Portland, Maine, serving such intermediate points as New Haven and Hartford, Conn.; Springfield, Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Lawrence, Mass., and Portsmouth, N.H.
The present owners purchased Trailways of New England in 1957 at a time when the company was suffering from financial reverses. A complete reorganization policy was instituted and certain operating and traffic economies were introduced shortly thereafter. Improvements in terminal facilities and equipment serving points plus purchase of new buses finally bore fruit in 1960 when the company first realized a nominal profit, and it has continued to show a small profit for each succeeding year through 1964.
Terminal improvement has been a high-priority project for the company and expenditures ranging from more than $100,000 at Worcester and Boston, Mass., to over $6,000 at Hartford and New Haven, Conn., have been authorized over the last several years.
Also, Trailways of New England has increased its fleet of buses from the original 13 acquired in 1957 to a present-day complement of 52. Eight more are on order for delivery this spring. Approximately 65 percent of the fleet was purchased new during the period 1962–64 at an average cost of $48,000 per unit.
Additionally, Trailways of New England undertook an advertising program, moderate of necessity to begin with, increasing to the point where in 1964 more than $119,000 was budgeted and spent. Finally, the company, for the year 1964, has paid over $10,000 in Federal and State fuel taxes, $20,722 for vehicle licenses and registration, and over $97,000 in turnpike and bridge tolls.
Using every known policy for offering convenient, safe transportation to the public in the area served by Trailways of New England during the year 1964, with all the improvements and conditions set forth above, and using private funds without any subsidy from any Federal, State, or local body, the company, with revenues in excess of $4 million, realized a net income of approximately $200,000, or an operating ratio of about 95 percent.
In summary, it is the position of this company that competition subsidized by public taxes—a portion of which we in private enterprise must contribute would jeopardize the future of the bus industry regardless of the area in which this type of competition may be encountered. Private enterprise could not expect to remain attractive to businessmen under such conditions.
Mr. BROWNING. As we state here, our interests in these proceedings which are being conducted are related to the long-haul aspects of the problem rather than to the local commuter phase. This statement will just give you a general idea of our whole operation.
During the proceedings here today, there has been some mention of the fact that the trucks and buses possibly are getting by free so far as the use of the highways are concerned.
I would just like to point out for the verbal record here that our company, during the year 1964, paid over $10,000 in Federal and State fuel taxes.
We paid $20,722 for vehicle licenses and registrations, and over $97,000 in turnpike and bridge tolls. That was for the year 1964.
In summary, it is the position of this company that competition subsidized by public taxes-a portion of which we in private enterprise must contribute—would jeopardize the future of the bus industry, regardless of the area in which this type of competition may be
encountered. Private enterprise could not expect to remain attractive to businessmen under such conditions.
Thank you, sir.
Senator PASTORE. Before you leave, would you be in a position, sir, to tell us how many people you transport between Boston and New York in the course of a year?
Mr. BROWNING. Our total facility traffic for the year 1964 was between 800,000 and 900,000, but this involves the entire operations of the company and not specifically Boston and New York. I don't have that broken down.
Senator PASTORE. Would it, in any way, place you in a position of divulging business confidence if you gave us the figures? I don't want them if it would be a violation of business confidence. I don't want you to do anything that will lead to competitive embarrassment or anything of that sort.
However, it would please me very much if the record would show exactly what passengers are picked up at Boston, Providence, New Haven, and so on and so forth, just to see what the traffic load is over the road.
Mr. BROWNING. Quite frankly, Mr. Chairman, we don't, in our accounting procedure, break down the origin and destination of the traffic. This is not available in the normal procedure.
Senator PASTORE. You do have buses that run from—do you have any running out of Providence?
Mr. BROWNING. No, sir; we don't serve Providence.
Mr. BROWNING. Yes; New York, New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, and Worcester.
Senator PASTORE. Figures like that—we would appreciate it very much.
Mr. BROWNING. Can this be added at some later time?
Senator PASTORE. Yes, of course. Can you get that information, send us a letter with the figures in it, and send it to the attention of Mr. Joseph Fogarty, Committee on Commerce, Senate of the United States.
Thank you very much.
Mr. BASSETT. Mr. Chairman, may I have 2 minutes of your attention!
Senator PASTORE. Not now, Mr. Bassett, I am sorry. I am afraid that we would be starting a precedent.
If you have any other statement to make, you write it down, send it to us, and we will insert it in the record.
Mr. BASSETT. I have some new matter.
Senator PASTORE. Send it in to us. This record will be kept open until the 19th of March for any further statements that may be submitted for the record.
In the meantime, I want to thank you, on behalf of the committee, for your courtesy and for your interest in this matter, and for your coming here today.
This committee will stand in recess until further call of the Chair.
(Whereupon, at 4:35 p.m., the committee was adjourned until further call of the Chair.)
(Subsequently, the following statements were received :)
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY CONGRESSMAN DONALD J. IRWIN,
FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, STATE OF CONNECTICUT Mr. Chairman, I have heard charges during the course of these hearings that there is a lack of interest in the fate of the New Haven Railroad, even in New England, which regards the railroad as one of the keystones of its economy.
I cannot speak for other States. I cannot speak for other congressional districts in Connecticut. But I can speak for my district and I assure you that this is not the case in Fairfield County.
From all over the Fourth Congressional District they write. Some offer suggestions. Some become indignant. Some urge immediate action, any action. Some urge support of one of the many plans proposed to assure commuter rail service.
H. C. Turner, Jr., chairman of the board of Turner Construction Co., one of the world's largest construction firms, wrote recently and set down these sound suggestions :
1. Commuter service is vital to the economy of Westchester County, lower Connecticut, and New York City.
2. Commuter service should be supported jointly by commuters, towns served by the railroad and by the State.
3. Railroad passenger facilities should be exempt from all taxation the same as highways and waterways. Thus New York City and all towns served by the railroads must immediately waive taxes.
4. Passengers should pay a larger fare to pay part of the additional cost of commuter service.
5. New York City and the towns served by railroads should provide needed operating funds on the basis of the number of passengers served at each railroad station.
6. States and the Federal Government should provide funds for modernization and capital improvements.
7. Program should be administered by a Transportation Authority established by the States.
The common thread running through all the letters: Save the railroad. We can't live in Fairfield County without it. The exodus of homeowners would set off economic tremors throughout the county. The traffic jams that would result if many New Haven commuters were forced onto the highways would be staggering.
Many of those who write are people of substance. A sampling of the letterheads from a day's mail sounds like a blue chip investment portfolio: Univac, Union Carbide, J. Walter Thompson, Mobil Oil, Martin Marietta, Scientific American, Container Corp. of America, and Benton & Bowles.
An Institute of Public Administration study estimated that 87 percent of the commuters from Fairfield County are either executive, administrative, or professional people.
These are people who are living here by choice. They picked Fairfield County over many other sites in the Metropolitan New York area because they wanted the pretty countryside, the pleasant living, the splendid schools, and the handsome homes we have to offer-all within easy commuting distance to their jobs in New York City.
And without the commuting service, many will leave. Were it just their departure alone it would be bad enough. But their departure would force the closing of many small businesses that serve them in the commuter towns of Fairfield County and throw many out of work.
As one letterwriter from Rowayton so succinctly put it: “If the railroad goes, so do we and so apparently will many others."
If anyone doubts this, then all he has to do is skim through a day's letters.
"Curtailment of the service of the New Haven Railroad will result in absolute chaos,” says one letterwriter. “The highways, already overcrowded, would be hopelessly jammed and the economic health of our communities is sure to be impaired. Help.”
A woman who is a real estate agent in Wilton tells of increasing numbers of prospective buyers deciding to hold off on their purchases until they know whether they will have commuter service.
A Rowayton woman questions the logic of spending $20 million to develop high-speed rail service from Boston to Washington while denying assistance to the local system serving 25,000 people daily. “This train ride is not for fun; we take it because we must get to work.”
A Greenwich man tells of how he finally found the house he wanted last fall after a year and a half of house hunting. Now he faces the loss of commuter service and a severe drop in the value of his home.
A letter from Stamford also warns that commuters would move out and the loss of the railroad would be felt by the entire community.
"There is no question in my mind that should commuter service to this area cease," a Stamford real estate agent warns, “the value of homes we have sold in the past year would probably drop at least $20,000 on the average.”
Another Stamford resident tells of the importance of the railroad and suggests that activities be directed toward an interim and a long-range approach to help the railroad.
A Westport homeowner cringes at the prospect of having to travel 45 miles to work over already crowded roads and adds “but if we commuters were driven to this the effect of this added traffic on New York's jammed-up streets would be devastating. City garage space, now at a premium, is both remote and costly."
Another Westport resident asks for “appropriate legislative action on the New Haven Railroad crisis. We certainly don't want to see the New England area turned into ghost towns, and as my elected Representative I turn to you for help.”
A Norwalk resident urges that I do all possible to assure continuation of this vital service.
A Westport resident urges that as a Democratic Congressman with a Democratic President in the White House, I use all my influence to persuade the Federal Government to give meaningful support to the New Haven.
“There is no doubt in my mind that if the New Haven commuter service were terminated, or seriously curtailed,” another homeowner writes, “I would sell my house and move out of the State. I am reasonably sure that many other commuters would be forced to do the same thing. Obviously, this would have serious repercussions not only on real estate values in Fairfield County, but on the general economy of all of the communities within the county.”.
“I am completely dependent upon the New Haven Railroad to pursue my livelihood," a Darien homeowner says. “I have tried other means of commutation, but they are illogical and economically unsound when compared to the continuation of existing New Haven Railroad service."
He adds: “The New Haven Railroad is the lifeblood and curtailment would result in widespread harm to the economic and social health of our communities."
Another Darien homeowner: "I recognize your concern as a public official, and appreciate the efforts you have been making to forestall this catastrophe. I sincerely hope your good efforts will be continued to a successful conclusion.”
A man who recently moved to New Canaan tells of having attempted to drive into New York City during the rush hours on a few occasions. It required from 112 to 2 hours, he noted.
A Westport letterwriter urges a synthesis of the ideas put forward to solve the problems of the New Haven. He also urges that all the interested problem parties sit down together and that there be action on the Federal, State, and local level.
A letter from Wilton brings home the fact that we are faced with more than the loss of a railroad-the loss of a way of living.
“I am approaching 25 years of service with one of the large corporations in New York and am now too old to change positions. I must therefore commute or move to New York. After living 13 years in Wilton, it would be very difficult indeed for us to return to New York. With the highway already choked with cars, the automobile or use of buses is not the answer, even if I were able to drive that rat race every day. The railroad must therefore continue to render service until a better way is provided.
"I am not normally in favor of Government subsidization or assistance, but it would be the worst kind of folly to allow this railroad to discontinue passenger service. I therefore hope and trust you will work diligently for its survival." And so they go, Mr. Chairman, in a sample of 1 day's mail. It wasn't the