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Mr. FERRIS. I will be very glad to do that, so far as the reasons which they present may extend. But we think we have reasons to present which are peculiar to the State of New York, because they affect a water-power proposition which does not affect the rest of the States. The other States are affected in a different way.
The CHAIRMAN. You are all affected, as I take it, or you all claim that you are affected by the lowering of the water, so you would be in unison on that.
Mr. FERRIS. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, you would each have peculiar reasons, probably, growing out of your locations along the Great Lakes.
Mr. FERRIS. I would be very glad to associate myself with the other gentlemen, so far as we cover the same ground, and agree with them in connection with the matters with which the State of New York would have to do.
Mr. Boyce. Why could not the proponents as well as the opponents of the bill meet separately after we adjourn to-day and make their own arrangements looking toward the saving of time!
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ferris, I think your suggestion is a good one, but I think it is a matter which will straighten itself out a little ·later. I think it is going to appear who the representatives of the proponents are, and it has been suggested, in a general way, who will be the opponents.
I think in the course of the hearing this morning it will develop very fully who appear for the proponents. Of course, you would not care to consult with the proponents.
Mr. FERRIS. I might like to talk with them, too.
Mr. HULL. Mr. Chairman, I would like the committee to hear first Mr. W. C. Rippin, of St. Louis.
STATEMENT OF MR. W. C. RIPPIN, ST. LOUIS, MO., CHAIRMAN OF
THE TRAFFIC COMMITTEE OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ASSOCIATION.
Mr. RIPPIN. Mr. Chairman, I am the traffic commissioner for the Merchants Exchange of St. Louis, which is a credit exchange of that city. But I am appearing here this morning as the chairman of the traffic committee of the Mississippi Valley Association, which is an organization of people between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghenies, organized for the purpose of promoting business prosperity in that valley. Mr. James E. Small is the president of that association, and he appointed this traffic committee from the commercial organizations in that association.
The CHAIRMAN. May I make a suggestion right here? My understanding of the situation is this. We have a report before us in favor of an 8-foot channel in the Illinois River. We have nothing further than that. We have nothing favorable to a 9-foot channel. There has been no survey, and I take it that what St. Louis and the Mississippi Valley are interested in is a channel in the Illinois River connecting with the Mississippi.
Mr. RIPPIN. Yes, sir. I was going to talk to you about the transportation end of the matter only.
The CHAIRMAN. The question here is, whether we have not gone as far as we can go now.
As I understand the rules of the committee, we could not consider at all the 9-foot channel, but we can consider the 8-foot channel, and the question is whether we shall adopt that report and legislate for the 6-foot channel.
Mr. RIPPIN. Of course, Mr. Chairman, I am not familiar with the engineering features of this matter as between the 8-foot and the 9-foot channel. But I do know that the people in that territory are very anxious to get some sort of a channel established, which will give them transportation on the river from the Lakes to the Gulf, and I was going to represent their sentiment in reference to that subject.
I am not going to take the time to read the names of the members of this committee, but there are 24 of those men representing various organizations from Pittsburgh on the east to the Missouri River on the west, and from St. Louis on the north to the Gulf cities on the south.
(The following is a list of the members of the committee above referred to:)
Mr. Charles Rippin, chairman, traffic commissioner, Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. C. S. Bather, commerce counsel, Rockford Manufacturers' and Shippers' Association, Rockford, Ill.
Mr. R. G. Cobb, traffic manager. Mobile Chamber of Commerce, Mobile, Ala.
Mr. P. W. Coyle, traffic commissioner, Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. James S. Davant, commissioner, Memphis Freight Bureau, Memphis, Tenn.
Mr. R. M. Field, business manager, Peoria Association of Commerce, Peoria, Ill.
Mr. Carl Giessow, general manager, New Orleans Joint Traffic Bureau, New Orleans, La.
Mr. C. W. Hayward, secretary-manager, Meridian Traffic Bureau, Meridian, Miss.
Mr. J. P. Haynes, traffic director, Chicago Association of Commerce, Chicago, Ill.
Mr. L. M. Hogsett, manager transportation department, Chamber of Commerce of Houston, Tex.
Mr. L. LaCroix, traffic manager, Chamber of Commerce of Evansville, Ind.
Mr. L. G. Macomber, traffic commissioner, Chamber of Commerce of Toledo, Ohio.
Mr. Roy Miller, active vice president, Intracoastal Canal Association of Louisiana and Texas, Corpus Christi, Tex.
Mr. Donald O. Moore, manager traffic bureau, Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Mr. Herman Mueller, traffic director, St. Paul Association of Public and Business Affairs, St. Paul, Minn,
Mr. A. L. Reed, commerce couisel, Chamber of Commerce of Dallas Tex.
Mr. F. M. Renshaw, manager traffic department, Chamber of Commerce of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Mr. J. H. Tedrow, transportation commissioner, Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City, Mo.
Mr. A. F. Vandergrift, manager traffic department, Louisville Board of Trade, Louisville, Ky.
Mr. J. C. Whiteford, traffic manager, Chamber of Commerce of Natches, Miss.
Mr. Ray Williams, traffic manager, Board of Trade of Cairo, Ill.
Mr. H. C. Wilson, commissioner traffic bureau, Chamber of Commerce of Sioux City. Iowa.
Mr. E. G. Wylie, commissioner Greater Des Moines Committee, Des Moines, Iowa.
Mr. J. A. Kuhn, traffic manager, Omaha Grain Exchange, On•aha, Nebr.
Mr. RIPPIN. The rail charges are so high that the shippers are looking around and trying to find a way to get their shipments out at a lower cost. That applies to the domestic shipments as well as others, and also to those from the interior of the valley to both coasts and between both coasts and the Mississippi Valley, and it applies to foreign traffic, where they want to get to the ocean with the least possible cost, on the best possible cost basis, so that they can meet their foreign competitors on the best possible basis.
The CHAIRMAN. Could you tell us what the local and through traffic is from Chicago to New Orleans and intermediate points, and then give us an estimate of what percentage of that traffic would be carried by an 8-foot channel!
Mr. Rippin. No; I could not give you the percentage that that
The CHAIRMAN. That would give us some measure of the relief.
Mr. RIPPIN. When the McCormick committee was investigating, it took the individual testimony of shippers throughout the valley, and you will find in the record of those hearings a great deal of testimony on that subject which is available.
The CHAIRMAN. I have not any doubt but that everyone knows that all over the United States there is an excess of tonnage over transportation facilities. But it seems to me what the committee is interested in as to the necessity for a waterway is the total amount of traffic existing, and the amount of traffic which will be carried by the proposed waterway.
Mr. RIPPIN. I could file that data with you later, taking it from the records already made on that subject. I have not got it with me, but that is available from the other records, where the individual shippers put the figures in the record. If you say so, I will undertake to have that compiled and filed with you.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Mr. RIPPIN. This committee represents the territory in which there are joint rail and water rates in existence by the barge line of the Mississippi River, which is now in operation from St. Louis to New Orleans.
The barge line asked for through rates as far as New England when they went before the Interstate Commerce Commission, but the Interstate Commerce Commission told them in effect that had better work on what they had for a while, and the rates are therefore limited to Pittsburgh on the East and the Missouri River on the West; and to St. Louis on the North. They apply in both directions. They also apply to the interior of the Southern States, to Texas on the West and Mississippi and Alabama on the East, in both directions.
I would like to demonstrate the saving accomplished by the present operation of the barge line. Take, for instance, a commodity on which the rate is $1 a hundred from St. Louis to New Orleans by rail. The barge-line rate would be 80 cents. Or, we could take the same commodity on which the rail rate from Chicago would be $1.30, and the barge line would apply the same differential on that $1.30 rate in connection with the railroad from Chicago and St. Louis, and the barge line south, and they would take off the St. Louis to New Orleans rate, which is 20 cents. Therefore, the rail and water rate from Chicago would be $1.10 in the case of the $1.30 by rail.
But there is a further saving by extending the water haul; by making a longer water haul there will be a greater saving. On that same operation to Chicago it would be 80 per cent of $1.30, which would be $1.04, and you would have a saving of another 6 cents a hundred. which, on 60,000 pounds of grain, would be $36, which would be a very considerable item. This committee I referred to has been making a study of the barge-line operations to see whether it would be desirable to extend it, and if so, how far, and what will be helped by doing that. We are firmly of the opinion that, so far as the interior is concerned, waterway development is a thoroughly practicable matter that will be a great benefit to the people in the valley between the two mountain ranges, not only because of the cheaper transportation, but because it will enable them to reach markets which they can not reach on an all-rail basis, giving them additional transportation facilities which will be provided by means of the operation of the barge line. We have observed, as traffic men everywhere have from time to time, the inadequate railroad facilities and service.
About a year ago Vice President Lee, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in an address in Philadelphia recognized the fact by saying that railroad officials appreciated the fact that when we have a real resumption of business in this country the rail facilities will not be sufficient to handle it. We are trying to have these facilities provided so that we can help out and provide more transportation. The ability of the transportation plant of the country will be increased by the amount that we can put on the waterways in the way of freight.
Some people have the impression that this waterway development is only for the cities on the rivers, but that is not true. More than half the business last year originated away from the river and was hauled by the barge line.
At this point I would like to show you a blue print prepared from the barge-line records, which shows the tonnage, by States, which they handled, and the saving made by hauling that tonnage over the barge line under what it would have cost had it gone by rail. This blue print covers the period ending November 30, 1923.
I also wish to submit to the committee another blue print. The first blue print makes this showing by States and the second one makes the showing by congressional districts, and if it is agreeable to the committee I would like to file those prints for your information so that the members of the committee may consult them if they wish to do so.
We were informed, as a committee, that some of the Representatives in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota were not familiar with this operation and they did not appear to take any interest in it because they said their people were not making use of it, and it was with that idea in mind that this map was prepared, and also following that idea we addressed letters to all users of the service during the past year and we received 140_answers, which were filed with the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce in connection with the Denison bill, H. R. 6643.
But I have here a list of the names of the writers of those letters who expressed themselves as favorable to the development of waterways for transportation, and who said they were satisfied with the service and wanted it extended.
They were particularly strong, some of them, in desiring to have the service extended to Pittsburgh on the east, St. Paul on the north, Kansas City on the west, and to Chicago on this waterway you are considering now.
This is the list of those names, and I would like to file that for the record. I have the original letters on file with the other committee, which we propose to get and file with your committee as soon as they are released by the other committee.
The CHAIRMAN. I see no particular reason why this list should go in the record, but it will be kept on file with the committee.
Mr. RIPPIN. This line last year saved $850,000 on freight charges, under what the shippers would have paid out if they had shipped the same freight by rail.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you say as to the financial outcome for the barge line?
Mr. ŘIPPIN. I expected Col. T. Q. Ashburn to make a statement in regard to that, but he is ill. It has not yet made a profit in all the years for the time it has been in operation. · The CHAIRMAN. I mean for the period as to which you are speaking. You say it made a gain to the shippers of $850,000.
Mr. RIPPIN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAX. Did it make a profit or loss to the Government; and if so, how much?
Mr. RIPPIN. I do not remember what the figures were last year, but taking it from the beginning they have lost.
The CHAIRMAN. We can not properly credit as a gain to the shippers what would be a loss to the Government.
Mr. RIPPIN. I understand that. The reason I said Colonel Ashburn is sick and could not be here was because he compiled a complete record of that, and I think he proposed to file it with the committee. It gives a record of six-month periods, which shows times when they had profitable periods at the rate of from two hundred to three hundred thousand dollars a month. He analyzed that, and shows that the losses occurred when the river was not usable, but when the river was right the operation was able to show a profit.
Mr. KINDRED. A large profit?
Mr. RIPPIN. I can not give you those figures now, although I understand they will be filed with you before you complete this hearing. There is already an exhibit prepared in reference to that matter, but the officer in charge is sick in bed right now. But he will probably be here later; at least, if he is not here I will get that data for you and file it later.
I would like to say a few words with reference to this Panama Canal competition, which has bothered some people quite a good deal. There has been such a development of coast to coast traffic since the canal has been open that people in the center of the country, manufacturers particularly, are very much alarmed because they are threatened with the loss of business on that account, because there is no way of meeting that situation unless they have water transportation from the center of the country to supply that deficiency and enable them to compete with the transportation between the coasts.