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REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE APPOINTED FOR THE PUURPOSE OF DRAFTING A UNIFORM
MOTOR VEHICLLE REGULATORY LAW.
To the American Electric Railway Association:
GENTLEMEN: Your Committee was appointed on May 8, 1922, for the purpose of making a study of the motor bus and motor truck transportation industry and recommending a uniform regulatory law that might be useful in the various States in the formulation of fair and effective motor bus and motor truck regulation.
The Committee held a preliminary meeting in Chicago on June 26, 1922, and agreed as to the fundamental elements of regulation, but found some difficulty in arriving at a decision on the proposed method of taxation of motor transportation companies. It was ascertained that no uniform method of taxing motor vehicle common carriers was in effect. The taxes assessed against these motor vehicle common carriers ran all the way practically from no special tax in some states to a very inadequate special tax in other states. The Committee decided that this matter of taxation was one of first importance.
Manifestly, inadequate taxation for the use of public highways by motor vehicle common carriers, results in a public subsidy for such carriers. The public cannot consistently subsidize these motor vehicle common carriers and the problem of taxation represents the correct method of assessing motor vehicle common carriers with such special tax as will compensate the public for the additional burden that these common carriers are to the public highways. From this viewpoint your Committee determined that a ton mile tax for all motor vehicle common carriers, which would as nearly as possible return to the highway funds an amount that would represent the actual deterioration of the highways caused by motor vehicle common carrier traffic, should be used. On principle, this plan of taxation would be exactly fair to all parties in interest so far as the maintenance of highways is concerned. The public would be relieved of the charge on its funds for repairing damaged highways due to motor vehicle common carrier traffic. The bus lines or truck lines would be required to pay only for the damage wrought and this amount would be assessed to the users of such transportation in the rates charged.
The rate for this special taxation was the next question. Through the co-operation of the Special Engineer of the Association, an attempt was made to obtain accurate data on the deterioration of public highways caused by ton miles of motor vehicle travel. Quite extensive search was made without securing from any source absolutely accurate information. From the best studies that we could develop, the figure of one cent per ton mile for pneumatic tire vehicles and one and one-half cents for hard tire vehicles were used. These figures were based on information secured, as stated, through the Special Engineer of the Association in personal conference and extended correspondence with State Highway Commissions in various parts of the United States, and such figures are confirmed in an article which appeared in the Western Highways Builder Journal in June, 1922, the editor of which, Mr. Phil Townsend Hanna, is more or less of an authority on the question of road building and maintenance.
The Committee determined to recommend in its proposed bill the figures set out herein with the admonition to all parties in interest, that these figures are not the result of accurate data, but are the best figures available from the present state of experimentation on the subject of highway deterioration. Future studies designed to develop accurately this question of deterioration per ton mile of travel may reveal the necessity of a revision in the figures recommended, but not, it is believed, downward. This, however, should not deter any law-making body from using the basic idea of ton mile tax, because it is founded on the absolutely fair idea of compensating the public highways for damage caused and no more. In many states, at the present time, experiments are going on in the matter of highway building and maintenance, and in such states it would be wise to direct these experiments along the line of the additional information necessary to determine the deterioration caused on various kinds of public highways by various kinds of motor vehicle travel per ton mile.
Certain fundamentals in the proposed uniform motor vehicle regulatory law that is submitted with this report are so obvious they hardly need comment. For instance, in Section II of the proposed bill, jurisdiction to a State Board is given over all motor vehicle common carrier traffic. This is as necessary in regulating motor vehicle transportation as it is necessary in the regulation of rail transportation.
Section IV of the proposed bill requires a certificate of necessity and convenience before a motor bus company can commence operation. This not only is a protection against indiscriminate and fly-by-night competition in the transportation industry, but it allows of the building up of transportation service, either by bus or by rail, under the direction of the State Regulating Board, which may not be disturbed by ruthless competition. In other words unless there is a public necessity for the transportation line, either rail or motor vehicle, it is economic waste to install the same, and one motor vehicle line or one rail line giving reliable service is much better for the public than two or more transportation lines giving inadequate and unreliable service due to insufficient business.
Section VII of the proposed law requires liability insurance and protects the public from uncollectible damage due to financially irresponsible motor vehicle transportation lines. This is necessary inasmuch as the investment of these motor vehicle common carrier lines does not represent but a fractional part of an amount that might become due on account of some serious accident. This is not true of rail transportation companies, because the investment in the rail transportation industry is sufficient in itself to compensate an injured person for all damages he might sustain.
Section VIII of the proposed law confers upon the State Regulating Board the right to prescribe safety regulations. This is particularly important in that motor vehicle common carriers are operating on the public highways in common with all other vehicular traffic. They have no means of controlling the use of the highways by other vehicles, and therefore, must be subjected to such regulations as may be necessary for the public safety in their use of the public highways.
In conclusion, your Committee believes that the adoption of laws in the various states similar to the one proposed, will effectively equalize to a large extent the transportation conditions between motor vehicle common carriers and the railroad industry, as well as definitely secure the public from further payment of the enormous annual subsidy now going to these motor vehicle common carriers in the shape of uncompensated use of the public highways.
C. D. EMMONS,
Vehicle Regulatory Law.
PROPOSED UNIFORM LAW
In this proposed law, in various states it may be necessary to change the name of the State Board to whom jurisdiction is given. In some states it will be Public Utilities Commission, in others it will be the State Highway Commission, in others the Railroad Commission, and the language must be made to fit the local conditions in the states using this bill as a sample.)
BY MOTOR VEHICLES; CONFERRING
SECTION I. (a) The term motor vehicle" when used in this act means any automobile, automobile truck, motor bus, or any other selfpropelled vehicle not operated or driven upon fixed rails or track.
(b) The term “motor carrier" when used in this act means any person, firm or corporation, lessee, trustee or receiver, operating any motor vehicle with or without trailer or trailers attached, upon any public highway for the transportation of passengers or property for compensation between fixed termini or over a regular route even though there may be periodic or irregular departures from said termini or route.
(c) The term “public highway" when used in this act means every public street, road or highway, or thoroughfare of any kind in this state, used by the public, whether actually dedicated to the public and accepted by the proper authorities or otherwise. SECTION II. The Railroad Commission of the State of
is hereby vested with power and authority, and it shall be their duty to supervise and regulate every motor carrier in this State; to fix or approve the maximum or minimum or maximum and minimum rates, fares, charges, classifications, and rules and regulations pertaining thereto, of each motor carrier; to regulate and supervise the accounts, schedules, service and safety of operations of each such motor carrier; to prescribe a uniform system and classification of accounts to be used, which among other things shall set up adequate depreciation charges, and after such accounting system shall have been promulgated, motor carriers shall use no other; to require the filing of annual and other reports and any other data; and to supervise and regulate motor carriers in all other matters affecting the relationship between such common carriers and the traveling and shipping public. The Railroad Commission shall have power and authority by general order or otherwise to prescribe rules and regulations applicable to any and all motor carriers. All control, power and authority over railroads and railroad companies now vested in the Railroad Commission is hereby specifically extended to include motor carriers.
SECTION III. All charges made by any motor carrier for any service rendered or to be rendered in the transportation of passengers or property, or in connection therewith, shall be just and reasonable and every unjust and unreasonable charge for such service or any part thereof is prohibited and declared unlawful.
SECTION IV. It is hereby declared unlawful for any motor carrier to operate or furnish service within this State without first having obtained from the Railroad Commission a certificate declaring that public convenience and necessity require such operation. The Railroad Commission shall have power, and it shall be their duty after public hearing, to issue said certificate as prayed for, or to refuse to issue the same, or to issue it for the partial exercise only of said privilege sought, and may attach to the exercise of the rights granted by such certificate such terms and conditions as in its judgment the public convenience and necessity may require. The Railroad Commission may at any time suspend, alter or amend any certificate issued, or after hearing for cause may revoke any such certificate. Motor carriers must operate and furnish service in strict conformity with the current existing terms and provisions of their respective certificates of convenience and necessity.
The Railroad Commission shall adopt rules prescribing the manner and form in which motor carriers shall apply for certificates required by this section. Among other rules adopted, there shall be rules, as follows:
(a) Application shall be in writing.
(b) Shall contain full information concerning the financial condition and physical property of the applicant.
(c) The complete route over which the applicant desires to operate. (d) The proposed schedule or schedules or time cards of the applicant.
SECTION V. No motor vehicle weighing more than thousand pounds including its load shall be permitted to operate over the public highways of this State.
SECTION VI. In addition to the regular taxes imposed on motor vehicles in this State, every motor carrier shall pay the following taxes for the maintenance and upkeep of the public highways.
Motor vehicles having pneumatic tires — one cent per ton mile of travel over and along the public highways.
Motor vehicles having hard rubber or solid tires — one and one-half cent per ton mile of travel over and along the public highways.
In figuring the ton miles of passenger travel, the maximum seating capacity of each passenger carrying motor vehicle unit (trailers to be included) at one hundred and fifty pounds per passenger seat, plus the weight of the vehicle, multiplied by the number of miles operated (all divided by 2,000), shall determine the ton miles of passenger travel per month.
In figuring the ton miles of freight travel, the maximum freight carrying capacity of each freight carrying truck or vehicle unit (trailers to be included), plus the weight of the vehicle, multiplied by the number of miles operated (all divided by 2,000), shall determine the ton miles of freight travel per month.
The motor carrier shall keep a daily record upon a form prescribed by the Railroad Commission of all schedules maintained, motor vehicle and trailer units used, and motor vehicle and trailer units laid up for repairs, during the current month, and on or before the tenth day of the month following shall certify under oath to the Railroad Commission upon such forms as may be prescribed by the Railroad Commission, a summary of the daily record which shall show the grand total ton miles of travel, both passenger and freight, made by the motor carrier during the preceding month. The daily record of each month's business shall