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Inasmuch as no bill has been introduced in the Congress at this time to implement this recommendation, my statement to you must concern two opposing philosophies of government–an established philosophy of government implemented by law, by court decisions, and by economic
practices which have been nurtured and which have grown and flourished on this existing policy, as opposed to a new philosophy of government stated in the recommendation to the Congress that user charges be imposed on the inland waterways.
The established, implemented policy of free use of the inland waterways for the movement of commerce had its inception in the ordinance of 1787 for the Northwest Territory, which was approved by the First Congress of the United States on July 13, 1787. Article 4 of the ordinance provided that the navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Rivers, and the carrying places between the same, should be common highways and forever free to the inhabitants of the said territory, as well as to the citizens of the United States, without any tax, impost, or duty therefor. The acts of Congress admitting many of the States into the Union contained declarations that the navigable waters should be common highways and forever free. The Rivers and Harbors Act of August , 1882, included the provision that,
No tolls or operating charges whatever shall be levied upon or collected from any vessel, dredge, or other watercraft for passing through any lock, canal, canalized river, or other work for the use and benefit of navigation, now belonging to the United States or that may be hereafter acquired or constructed.
This policy was reiterated in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1884 and in many subsequent acts.
These acts were the forces of implementation used by the founders of the Government of the United States to put into effect their belief that representative government should translate the great natural wealth of the Nation's water resources into usable, productive form for the general welfare of the people.
For 168 years we have followed that policy, nurtured, protected and strengthened that policy in a general representative belief that the inland waterways of the United States continue to be natural resources of great value to our general economic well-being and growth, and therefore of benefit to the people of the Nation as a whole.
We have dredged channels; we have dug canals; we have built dams; we have built locks; and we have put over 28,000 miles of inland waterways channels to work carrying a part of the commerce of this Nation. We have witnessed economic growth and prosperity along these navigable channels which is far in excess of the growth and prosperity of industry located where such channels are not available. We see a nation moving its raw materials in great bulk cargo carriers over these waterways to their plants. We see the per capita income of the people in the regions served by these waterways marching steadily upward. We see the other forms of transportation serving these same areas growing and prospering to a far greater extent than those forms of transportation grow and prosper in areas not served by the inland waterways.
There is a great mass of factual, statistical data available to support these statements. It is not my purpose to marshal this statistical information. I am sure that before these hearings are concluded the
staff of this committee will have assembled, in usable form, an analysis of these statistics which will lead you to the same inevitable conclusion.
In addition to the 28,000 miles of channel which have been improved and which is maintained with Federal public moneys for the movement of commerce, there still exists in the vast inland confines of the United States over 35,000 miles of river and intracoastal channel which is capable of being developed for transportation. The public pressure being exerted today by the peoples who inhabit the areas where this undeveloped channel exists is a tremendous outpouring of testimony for the recognized need on the part of the people for the services which improved navigable channels can provide to increase our services and our usable wealth.
In speaking of having opened up 28,000 miles of inland channel for navigation and of the prospect for opening another 35,000 miles of channel for navigation, we must not lose sight of the fact that in building facilities for inland navigation purposes on our waterways we are doing more than just providing navigation. It is impossible to build navigation channels on the inland waterways of the United States and not add benefits for the people over and above the benefits which accrue from transportation. When we build navigation channels, we also build water storage which becomes available to the people as a whole of a region for industrial, domestic, agricultural, and recreational purposes. With water storage goes flood control; and however minute it may be, it has tangible value. With flood control also goes erosion control. In many cases when we develop navigation channels we also store enough water to make possible the generation of electric energy, adding again to the usable wealth of the Nation. These benefits and the general economic welfare of the Nation are inseparable, as we know from experience and as can be documented by statistical data.
The barge and towing vessel industry of the United States unquestionably is providing one of the most efficient means for the movement of commerce which has ever been designed and put to work anywhere in the world. The efficiency of that means of transportation adds something to the overall material wealth of the Nation and very specifically adds something to the material wealth of the individuals who eventually use the products made from the bulk materials which constitute the great majority of the cargoes moved over the inland waterways.
I have been intrigued by the statement of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government which was given as a preliminary to recommendation No. 8, in which the Commission said:
Today the nature of transportation over the inland waterways has shifted to bulk traffic such as oil, coal and ore.
There has been no shift to bulk traffic. For over a hundred years the craft plying the navigable rivers of this country have carried principally bulk cargoes. In 1945, when the Warrior-Tombigbee River system's 467 miles of channels were opened to commerce the bulk movement of coal was among the
very first movements started on the river. A hundred years ago the pioneers in inland waterway transportation were moving oil and coal in specially constructed barges. When cotton was the economic lifeblood of the South it
moved from the inland plantations over the inland waterways on packet boats and keel boats to the seacoast for transportation to the textile-producing centers of the world. There is nothing very recently new about the inland waterways attracting bulk cargoes.
I think what is new and what inspires the statement of the Commission that the nature of traffic over the inland waterways has shifted to bulk traffic is that the very efficiency of the inland waterway carriers and their equipment has so attracted commerce and has so attracted the attention of the Nation to the ability of the waterways to serve a growing and demanding need, that commerce over the waterways has now become a primary target for those interests who are historically and unalterably opposed to competition in the transportation business.
Inland waterways transportation is a fast-growing muscle in the body of the commerce of this Nation. For the second time in our transportation history, waterways commerce has become a competitive factor; so much so that our other basic forms of transportation must reckon' with it in seeking and obtaining business. That responsible interests and responsible voices in this Nation should seek to destroy, if not destroy then shackle and restrain, the growth of commerce over the inland waterways, is almost inconceivable.
Yet the recommendation of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government that user charges be imposed on inland waterways sufficient to cover maintenance and operation costs is a strong blow aimed at putting the brakes on the development and the use of inland navigation channels. And if we revamp the 168-year-old policy of the United States for maintaining freedom of movement of commerce over the inland waterways by implementing a completely new philosophy of representative government as expressed in the recommendation of the Commission, we shall certainly destroy a part of the industry that has been built up to move commerce over the waterways; we shall stop a part of the commerce that moves; and we shall not only stop projects now under way to improve inland navigation channels, but we shall also deny to the people in the river valleys and along the intracoastal channels of this Nation all of the allied economic benefits which go hand in hand, inseparably, with the development of these channels for navigation.
In Alabama, on the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway, which is my primary interest, we have just succeeded in accomplishing the first step in redeveloping 467 miles of navigation channel to convert it from a depth and from lock chamber sizes which were built specifically to handle the 300-ton capacity packet boats which opened up much of the valley to commerce shortly after the beginning of the 20th century. We are just now beginning to rebuild a packet boat river into a modern highway of commerce. On the strength of the building alone we saw
commerce on the river grow from 2 million tons in 1948, when the redevelopment program was started, to over 3 million tons in 1954, when the first new lock and dam were placed in operation.
Commerce on that river system this year is moving at a rate of 4 inillion tons annually. Taxation of that movement in the form of user charges will destroy and remove from the river the investment of some of the 26 barge operators who carry this commerce. The majority of these 26 barge operators are small-business men. They have built their business within the framework, the historic policy estab
lished by the Government, for the free movement of commerce over the waterways; and within another historic policy which has long sought to encourage and promote the growth of small business. These small-business men, along with the people as a whole who benefit both directly and indirectly from the waterways, are in the final analysis the targets at which this inequitable recommendation for the levying of user charges on the inland waterways is aimed. The small-business men who make up a great part of the barge and towing vessel industry of this country are not the giants of the transportation industry; and yet these small-business men perform a highly necessary function in the pattern of the movement of commerce which is vital and necessary to our continued growth.
Former President Herbert Hoover, who headed the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government and under whose direction the recommendation for the imposition of user charges on the inland waterways was made, at the ceremonies commemorating the completion of the 9-foot channel in the Ohio River in 1929, said:
To carry forward all of these great works is not the dream of the visionariesit is the march of a Nation. We are reopening the great trade routes upon which our continent developed. This development is but an interpretation of the needs and pressures of population, of industry and civilization. They are threads in that invisible web that knits our national life. They are not local in their benefits. They are universal in promoting the prosperity of the Nation. It is our duty as statesmen to respond to these needs, to direct them with intelligence and skill, with economy, with courage—God has truly blessed us with great resources. It is our duty to make them available to the people.
It is the opinion of the organization and the people I represent that we have been making the benefits of our water resources available to the people under a policy that is economically sound over a period of 168 years. The recommendation of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government is a decision made outside the Congress of the United States to begin the destruction of that policy. It is my earnest hope, and my plea, to this committee on behalf of the people from all walks of life in Alabama whom I am representing here today, and on behalf of the National Waterways Conference, that this committee go back to Congress with the recommendation that we maintain the historic position of the United States that our inland waterways shall continue to be free highways of commerce forever.
Mr. Jones. Thank you very much, Mr. Carr. That is an excellent statement.
Let me ask you this question: Where the Federal Government has constructed navigation projects, has it not increased the volume of traffic handled by the railroads either in prehandling or rehandling freight carried by water-borne vessels?
Mr. Carr. There are two railroads, Mr. Chairman, which parallel very closely the great Mississippi waterway system, which carries the bulk of waterway commerce in this country. Those two railroads have originated more freight per mile of track than they have. Their net income for the last 20 years has been far greater than the average of the freight originated, and far greater than the average net income of all the other class I railroads in this country, which in my estimation is simply brought about by the fact that the industries of that valley are served by economical waterways transportation so as to bring in their bulk materials, and as a result they prosper over and above industry which does not have that means of bringing in their raw materials. Therefore the finished products are moving out of that area in a greater proportion over the railroads than they are in any other areas.
Mr. Jones. So it is contributing to the growth and to the wealth of the railroad companies themselves?
Mr. CARR. I think so.
Mr. Reuss. Mr. Pollard White. Will you be seated, Mr. White? Do you have a prepared statement?
STATEMENT OF POLLARD WHITE, FARMER, AND VICE PRESIDENT,
CUMBERLAND RIVER ASSOCIATION, CADIZ, KY.
Mr. WHITE. I am sorry to say that I do not have a prepared statement. I did not know about it.
Mr. Reuss. That is perfectly all right. You just proceed in your own way.
Mr. WHITE. I have listened to all of the testimony that has been given here today. I do not know anything I could add, unless you might want to know how those people feel who have lost their land in the developments that have already taken place through the overflow of these rivers.
Mr. Reuss. Would you identify yourself, Mr. White? You are from Cadiz, Ky., I understand.
Mr. WHITE. Pollard White; I live in Trigg County, Ky., the county seat of which is Cadiz. I am a farmer and I am also vice president of the Cumberland River Association. I was present when the association was formed and I have addressed every meeting of it until now.
Mr. Reuss. That is the association of which Mr. Charles Everhart, who testified here this morning, is president?
Mr. WHITE. That is right.
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir. I was here when he testified. I did not go to Washington the last time and I did not attend the conference with the representatives of the Bureau of the Budget, but I have attended every meeting that has been called to consider matters concerning the development of the Cumberland River. I do not think there is any meeting that has ever been held but what I was present.
As I say, I do not know anything that I could add to this testimony unless you might want to know how those people feel who have had their lands flooded.
Mr. Reuss. We will be glad to have you tell us that, Mr. White.
Mr. WHITE. The Kentucky Lake one side of the lake flooded Trigg County, our county. Trigg County is a key county in the development of Kentucky Lake, which is the biggest one of the TVA developments. If the dam is built on the lower Cumberland on both sides of the Tennessee River, Trigg County will lose land. I know all of these people. I have lixed within a stone's throw of the river all my life, and I think I know the river. I know how it acts in times of flood and how the people feel about it. I know what their prob