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stroke, which can put an end to idle talk and wasteful duplication in attempting to solve the problems of our cities.
Senator HUMPHREY. Senator Williams, do you wish to proceed now?
STATEMENT OF HON. HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, JR., U.S. SENATOR
FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Senator WILLIAMS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and Senator Gruening.
Mr. Chairman, I deeply appreciate this opportunity to present my views on S. 1431, a bill to provide for the establishment of a Commission on Metropolitan Problems. First of all, I want to take this opportunity again to commend the distinguished author of this bill, the Senator from Pennsylvania, Mr. Clark, and to commend, too, the distinguished chairman of this subcommittee, Senator Humphrey. As former mayors, both you, Mr. Chairman, and Senator Clark are acutely aware of the growing problems affecting our metropolitan areas. We in the highly urbanized States are particularly fortunato that this resolution is being considered in a subcommittee chaired by one of the foremost authorities on urban problems in the country.
It has often been stated in recent years that the traditional division of the population into urban and rural elements has now become obsolete, and that a breakdown based on metropolitan and nonmetropolitan elements would more closely reflect the actual existing situation. As a result of this rapid growth of gigantic metropolitan complexes, problems have been created in a host of fields, and with the population predictions being as they are, these problems will grow worse before they get better unless government faces up to them quickly.
I want to take a moment to read a paragraph from a very eloquent report which deals with the problem we're discussing here today. The report says:
It may be questioned, however, whether the National Government has given sufficient attention to some of the specific and common problems of urban dwellers as it has for farmers through the Department of Agriculture, and it is the purpose of this inquiry to indicate some of the emerging city problems in which the Nation as a whole has an interest and in which the National Government may be helpful. It is not the business of the U.S. Government to assume responsibility for the solution of purely local problems any more than it is the business of local governments to assume primary responsibility for the settlement of national problems. Yet, the U.S. Government cannot properly remain indifferent to the common life of American citizens simply because they happen to be found in what we call cities.
I'll end the quote there and identify the source. Mr. Chairman, the paragraph comes from a report called "Our Cities.” It was made in 1937 by the National Resources Committee after an intensive study. On the Senate floor last year, and again this year, we have heard much the same comment made. The only difference is that today's comments are made 22 years later, and that the problems described in 1937 are much more serious now.
We can guess at how serious they are when we consider that between 1950 and 1955 the number of people in the country's metropolitan areas increased by 12 million, from 8412 million to 96 million. As the editors of Fortune point out in their book, “The Exploding
Metropolis,” the number increased only 2,400,000 within city limits. In other words, the biggest growth was in the suburbs. This growth, of course, has given rise to many problems which cross municipal, county, and State lines. And they are costly problems. New York City, for instance, announced only this week that it will cost more than $8 million just for the 1960 budget to deal with part of the water pollution problem which now affects the recreational waters around that city. The total cost, spread over several years, was put at about $110 million to $150 million.
Mr. Chairman, I represent one of the States where the enormous impact of the growing metropolitan area has been almost unbelievable. The establishment of the proposed Commission on Metropolitan Problems would very directly affect the State of New Jersey, but more important, it would be a step toward solutions to problems which are growing both in scope and complexity in many areas throughout the country.
I think the Federal Government has a deep responsibility and interest in assisting the States and localities in the solution of these problems. I think so first of all because as a Nation we are extremely dependent upon healthy metropolitan areas if we are to remain a first class power in the world, if we are to maintain our status as the bulwark of freedom in the world. The importance of the industrial metropolitan complex to the Nation is easily apparent when we realize that one-eighth of the Nation's total annual production of goods and services comes out of the Greater New York metropolitan areas.
And with the increasing trend toward urbanization and the prediction which indicates that a greater proportion of our population will be urbanized, this Federal concern will become of increasing importance. I think the Federal Government has a responsibility, too, because a host of Federal programs have impinged upon urban development and in some ways have contributed to the situation we face.
And a fundamental difficulty in making a beginning is the diversity of political organizations which exist in our great metropolitan centers. For example, the giant New York City-northeastern New Jersey complex includes parts of 3 States, 17 counties (in addition to the 5 of New York City), and more than 550 communities. It contains 1542 million people and is expected to grow to 19 million in the near future.
New York City and its environs constitute the largest metropolitan area in the world, and the fantastic changes brought about by metropolitan growth are graphically illustrated in this example. A quarter century ago New York City was a relatively well integrated transportation network. It was comprised of an inner core city, congested to some extent, but nevertheless, well served by surface, underground and elevated transportation. It was surrounded by a series of suburbs in New Jersey and New York well knit together by commuter trains, ferries, and feeder lines. Today it has become a tangled mess with a transportation system almost inadequate in every sense of the word.
I don't know how recently you gentlemen have had the good fortune to be in the New York metropolitan area, or the bad fortune to experience this transportation problem we face.
Senator HUMPHREY. Senator Williams, excuse me for interrupting you. Your testimony is enlightening and it is fascinating.
I wonder what the Department of Defense thinks about this? Do any generals ever get up to New York around 4 o'clock in the afternoon? Are we depending on the Russians to attack us late at night and solve our major problems of transportation?
Can we rely on Mr. Khrushchev to be so cooperative? How would anybody ever get out of that city if anything ever happened?
Senator WILLIAMS. I don't see how they can. We have come out on highways at 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening and we get into traffic jams and stay bumper to bumper and hardly move for almost an hour.
Almost every day we see billboards that say, “This highway will be closed in case of enemy attack.” I honestly don't know what we are doing. Civil defense is now saying, “Don't run but hide.”
One of the reasons might be because of the impossibility of moving people en masse efficiently, and certainly we have not faced up to this problem. In fact, things are getting worse. The railroad transportation for commuter lines is being cut back every day.
We lose a new service. And this, together with our highway problems, I think, can well be studied by a commission such as the commission we are considering in this bill today.
The time is certainly now for this kind of study. Transportation is only one of our problems. We see it in education with our school facilities. The city is outdated in terms of buildings and inadequate in terms of numbers of classrooms.
In my judgment this study, together with Federal cooperation, is needed.
We have a lot of friends who say, “Let the communities do it; it is their responsibility," but it has been my experience that the communities are doing, generally, all they can with their limited taxing powers and resources. They are doing a magnificent job and they need some help, both in terms of study and in terms of substance.
I will enumerate some of these problems in a few minutes.
I was interested in Senator Gruening's inquiry about the need for a special study for the New York metropolitan area and the Philadelphia area and the eastern part of our country.
I was interested in Senator Clark's reply that there are significant studies on the way.
Just this past week the Ford Foundation granted $750,000 to Rutgers University in New York to establish an urban research center, and I have a telegram here from the director of that study, Professor Bennett Rich, and I would like to read it to you, because he does endorse fully the bill Senator Clark has presented and that we are considering today.
Mr. Rich says:
As chairman of the faculty, Urban Studies Committee of Rutgers, the State university, I wish to endorse Senate bill 1431, introduced by Senator Joseph Clark, providing for the establishment of a Commission on Metropolitan Problems.
The process of urbanization has had probably its greatest impact in New Jersey today, a higher proportion of the population resides in urban areas than in any other State. As a corridor State, New Jersey is faced with the growth of huge metropolitan areas in each of its extremities. In between, its own communities continue to expand into the countryside.
With the growth of urban areas has come a multitude of economic, social, and grovernmental problems. The influence of urbanization is felt not only by the inhabitant of the central city, but also by the surburbanite and the farmer on the urban fringe. All must contend with the effects of urbanization, whether good or bad.
For several months our faculty committee has been studying the means by which the university could utilize its resources in the study of urban problems, the committee's work has culminated in a substantial grant from the Ford Foundation for a program of urban research, instruction, and extension. Our preliminary inquiry has emphasized the desirability of nationwide study along the lines indicated for the proposed Commission on Metropolitan Problems.
With the work being done at Rutgers and by the other Senator Clark mentioned, and with the help of this commission I think that there is a great promise that we can cut through the tangled mess of metropolitan problems that are growing and are so dangerous to the survival of this country as a healthy, strong nation.
The advent of the automobile and the resulting alteration in living and working habits has indeed constituted a most difficult dilemma. From the earliest time, first the village and then the city, and then the giant metropolitan areas were basically an outgrowth of the ease of communication. Geographical proximity made the exchange of services easy. It provided readily available work forces. Ease of transportation has always been one of the most fundamental causes for metropolitan growth. Yet today we see urban centers practically strangling themselves.
At the root of this transportation strangulation is the upheaval of the auto age. The instrument of the transportation revolution in the 20th century was the invention of the gasoline combustion engine. Practically every metropolis in the world is to some degree in the grips of the results of this revolution. The transformation in our transportation system particularly as it affects our cities is so gigantic and so obvious that it is easy to forget how remarkable it has been. Only Moscow, of the major metropolises of the world, still stands above the snarl and the confusion. Clearly, we will either master the transportation tangle in our metropolitan areas or we will suffer economic and social retreat of major proportions. As with all revolutions, whether they be technological or governmental, they inevitably collapse unless the society is capable of regeneration and reinvigoration.
Now some will say why should the Federal Government have any interest in this problem. This is a State and local responsibility. Public commutation in our cities is of no concern to the Federal Government. Well, I say it is. I say it is for three good reasons.
First of all, the Federal Government through its various subsidy programs for our competing systems of transportation has a tremendous impact on the railroads' ability to make a contribution toward the solution of this problem.
Secondly, in the New York area particularly, but in many others as well, the metropolitan commutation problem is interstate.
And thirdly, I again maintain that the survival of the cities of this country is of vital concern to our overall economic well-being. No one is going to abolish the cities or suggest that they disappear and disperse through the landscape to minimize this problem. The cities are in existence for a very good reason and there's every indication that they are going to stay in existence; and existing trends indicate that they will make an increasing contribution to the welfare of this country.
The financial ability of the railroads to assist in a solution to our commuter problem, for example, is clearly dependent upon the overall economic ability of the railroads to compete with other modes of transportation. With proper financial resources, the private management of our railroads is prepared to devote necessary investment to improvement in service which would enable them to handle an increasing part of the problem. There's no issue here as to whether the Federal Government should intervene. It already has. Does anyone seriously believe that the variety of subsidies which the Federal Government extends to competing means of transportation does not affect the railroads' financial ability to make a contribution to the solution of our commuter tangle?
We grant large subsidies to our airlines. We spend huge sums of money to provide enlarged airfields and facilities for the use of the competitors of the railroads. We aid inland waterways whose facilities encourage the diversion of heavy traffic from the rail lines. We provide expensive and extensive highway facilities which constitute an indirect source of subsidy to commercial motor vehicle traffic. At the present time there is a large diversion of mail hauling from the railroads to airlines and trucks. All of these Federal actions impinge upon the commuter problem. We can't close our eyes and say that the Federal Government has no responsibility in this field. It has already assumed responsibility. It has worked in an adverse fashion on the railroads' ability to be of assistance.
The State of New Jersey and the State of New York are attempting to move on this transportation tangle. Practical proposals have been made by both the Governor of New York and the Governor of New Jersey. I would like to ask the consent of the committee to insert in the record of these hearings a letter from Commissioner Dwight R. G. Palmer to Governor Robert B. Meyner outlining the proposals which are being explored in the State of New Jersey in the transportation field.
(The letter referred to follows:)
A PROPOSAL TOWARD SOLVING NEW JERSEY'S TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM
DEAR GOVERNOR MEYNER: At your direction we have been devoting our energies toward a solution of the overall transportation needs of our State. Our efforts had their inception in early January and have continued under forced draft right through and since the period of your execution of S-4 on March 12, 1959, creating the division of railroad transportation under the State highway department. It is our belief that when the following plan is fully executed it will clear up most of our transportation problems. And now, to conserve your time, I will get right at the "meat of the coconut."
It is of the utmost importance that passenger rail service shall not only continue throughout all areas of our State, but that this service be improved. The staff of your division of railroad transportation is satisfied that without adequate rail transportation there will be a tendency on the part of many of our residents to move from their present locations, precipitating shifts of population which we feel must be avoided. Any general movement in this direction would adversely affect our economy and would disrupt the operation of local governments. New Jersey commuters spend a substantial portion of their usable income within our