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something for that use, something that is compensatory, not for the purpose of driving them out of business, but simply that the public will not be called upon to subsidize that particular class of transportation.
The other question which Mr. Seeley brought up, as to the amount of tax, is a different question. No one knows what the amount of the tax ought to be, but it is proper there should be some special tax for the object stated. Whatever the result may be on the electric railways as operators of motor buses and motor trucks, they ought to put themselves on record as standing for the correct principle.
L. S. STORRS :- I will call attention to the fact that the proposed method of arriving at the tax is the same basis as is employed in Maryland, when I believe the motor bus is put on a seat mile tax on passenger motor vehicles, and ten mile tax on freight vehicles.
WALTER JACKSON : I think that the gentlemen who have been discussing the taxation to which motor buses should be subject have overlooked, perhaps, the most important thing of all. If we are going to tax the motor stage by the amount of damage caused to the roadway, the tax will not be high. What the State has always done, ever since there has been transportation, has been to impose some tax on the common carrier for the monopoly privilege. That is the kind of tax which the motor bus or street railway or any other form of transportation should pay.
To illustrate to you how useless a mileage tax might be, if it were based just on that principle, and how unfair it would be, I would mention not only Mr. Seeley's Company, but that Stone & Webster are operating a type of vehicle known as the motor stage, which is simply a large enclosed car of the de luxe type, seating 14, 16 or 18 people.
Those who have studied this operation have learned that it has had this effect — it is bringing down the number of the pleasure or inefficiently used personal cars. Between Everett and Mt. Vernon, in the State of Washington, for example, there is such a service. Many of the customers obtained since that service was installed, are people who used to operate their personal cars. One with a mathematical mind can figure for himself that with a 14-seat stage, with 100 per cent seat load factor, such a vehicle causes less wear on the road than would be the case of the inefficiently used personal vehicles which it replaces.
What the State of Washington or any other State should do in a case of that kind is to charge the carrier a per cent of his gross or net earnings, or a percentage charge on the number of gallons of fuel used, which is in proportion to mileage. We knew a public utility vehicle makes much more mileage than a personally operated vehicle. You have a charge that would continue indefinitely, no matter what the type of vehicle is. You must not, in your wonder as to what this new form of transportation is going to do, run into legislation which, as Mr. Seeley says, will come back to plague you.
H. B. FLOWERS :- Mr. Seeley's operation running in Maryland, under the tax imposed upon vehicles in that State, would cost $30,960; assuming that he only makes 20 round trips per day. We pay $2,520 per bus per year for the double deck buses we operate in Baltimore.
C. L. HENRY :- We have had some six months of actual and active conferences among the railway men and among the farmers, especially, in the State of Indiana. In the early part of the year the question was taken up rather voluntarily and these conferences resulted in the formation of an organization in the State of Indiana interested in the question, and work has been proceeding along that line during all that time. We are discussing the question as to what sort of legislation should be asked for in the Legislature in the coming January.
As the result, a conclusion has been reached on the part of the committee which is in charge of the work, almost exactly as in the proposed bill, but in a different way entirely, and I am in favor of this kind of a bill. Whether it is exactly the right principle, in all respects, does not seem to be important just now. Each individual legislature will have to consider that question.
I move the adoption of the report.
PRESIDENT TODD :- The next business is the report of the Committee on Maintenance and Construction of Highways, W. J. Harvie, Vice-President, Auburn and Syracuse Railway Company, Auburn, New York, Chairman.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON MAINTENANCE AND
CONSTRUCTION OF HIGHWAYS
To the American Electric Railway Association:
GENTLEMEN : Your Committee on the Cost of Construction and Maintenance of Highways desire to submit at this time the following statement of its activities.
The appointment of a committee to make a study of the Cost of Construction and Maintenance of Highways was suggested by members of this Association, and in June of this year such a committee composed of four members, representing the American Association and three members representing the Engineering Association, was appointed. The committee held a meeting on June 22nd, at which the subject assigned was discussed and a plan of action agreed upon. A questionnaire was prepared.
This questionnaire was sent to the member companies located in or nearest to the capital city of each state in the union, and the Dominion of Canada, with a request to obtain through available sources the information asked for. The request has met with unusual prompt response, and up to date twenty-eight replies have been received by your committee.
Inasmuch as we have not yet received replies to all of the questionnaries, your committee desires at this time only to report progress on the subject in hand. It is most desirable that the committee have in hand data from the remaining twenty-one questionnaires before it undertakes a study of the subject of the compilation of facts. This Committee should be continued during the coming year.
W. J. HARVIE, Chairman, Committee on Maintenance and Construction of Highways.
PRESIDENT TODD:—What action will you take on this report, gentlemen ?
L. S. STORRS: I move its adoption. (Motion seconded and passed.)
PRESIDENT TODD :- We will now receive the report of the Committee on Electrolysis.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ELECTROLYSIS
To the American Electric Railway Association:
GENTLEMEN : This Progress Report is for the purpose of advising the members of the Association of the status of the work of the American Committee on Electrolysis, and is not intended to be a technical report.
As you are aware, from earlier reports, the Committee has through the investigations of its Research Sub-committee and its own various discussions, developed a very considerable amount of data, which has been placed at the disposal of this and the other cooperating organizations in printed form, the last volume of which was released just following our convention of last year. The data obtained was the result of investigations of the Research Sub-committee in the field and represented actual conditions existing at the time.
During the past twelve months, some further study and investigation has been made.
Last year, certain phases of the question in hand closely related to the matter of electric railway power distribution and generation, came to the attention of the Committee, and it seemed best to place this phase of the matter in the hands of our Engineering Association for study, and report, and the Engineering Association was therefore requested to place this phase of the matter in its program of work.
W. J. HARVIE, Chairman,
PRESIDENT TODD :- Gentlemen, what action will you take on the report?
L. H. PALMER:- I move that it be received. (Motion seconded and carried.)
PRESIDENT TODD :- The Electric Railway industry, which has felt so often, in the past, the baneful effects of local political organizations, welcomed everywhere the establishment of State Public Service Commissions, comprising, as they do, men of broad culture and practical experience, supplemented by expert engineering and accounting departments, qualified to consider fairly and impartially the merits of all petitions and other matters submitted to them. Their paramount duty is to safeguard the interests of the public and at the same time to see that a fair return is earned by the utility upon a fair valuation.
There is no greater factor in the stability and proper functioning of electric railways than our Public Service Commissions.
To return to the old haphazard methods of local political regulation would be disastrous alike to the public and the utilities.
Among the first states to adopt the advanced Public Service Commission plan was the great State of Wisconsin. Many of the middle states have copied the Wisconsin Public Service Commission Law almost verbatim but the constructive work of a public service commission is usually due to the clear vision and courage of its individual members. The laws creating public utility commissions will fail to accomplish their purpose in the promotion of public interest unless they are administered by men indifferent to popular clamor and who stand unflinchingly for justice and fairness to all.
We are fortunate in having with us today the Chairman of the Wisconsin Railway Commission, who has been further honored by being elected Chairman of the State Railway Commissions of the country. I have great pleasure in presenting to you the Hon. Carl D. Jackson, who will speak on The Real Interests of the Car Rider."
THE REAL INTEREST OF THE CAR RIDER
Madison, Wisconsin. The interest of the street car rider is, of course, set forth in one word service. Therefore, I am concerned in this paper with trying to point out how that service can be obtained and assured on the most reasonable terms and why unreasonable burdens upon the street car rider should be done away with; what course of regulation and what policy in the end is in his interest assuring him the best practicable service at the most reasonable terms. It is because certain aspects of these questions are little understood or appreciated by the car rider that I am going to endeavor to briefly discuss some of them from his point of view, as well as from the point of view of the men who must render that service.