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SECOND ANNUAL REPORT
STATE OF ARKANSAS.
Little Rock, Ark., December 1, 1901.
Governor of the State of Arkansas: Sir-In obedience to the requirement of section 28 of the act of the Legislature, creating the Railroad Commission of Arkansas, we present this, the Second Annual Report of the transactions of this office between December 1, 1900, and December 1, 1901.
During the time covered by this report, encouraging progress has been made in the construction and extension of railroads run. ning into practically new and undeveloped sections of the State. The White River Railroad, a branch of the Missouri Pacific system, is being built from a point north of Batesville up White River in the direction of the zinc fields of Northeast Arkansas.
The Saint Louis & North Arkansas Railroad has been extended from Eureka Springs to Harrison, a distance of some forty-five miles, and the construction is being pushed, with Marshall as the present objective point.
The Ozark & Cherokee Central Railway, the Fort Smith Western Railroad, the Arkansas & Choctaw, and the South Missouri & Arkansas, have also made considerable progress in construction.
Upon the whole, the conditions seem to have been reasonably favorable to railroad building, and great and costly improvements are constantly being made in the tracks and equipments of the long lines.
Prior to the publication of the First Annual Report, the Standard Freight Distance Tariff had been adopted and put in force on the long line roads. This tariff is printed elsewhere in this report. While this tariff may, in some respects, be imperfect and inadequate to meet all possible exigencies, time has proven it a vast improvement on the irregular and unstable rates charged by the roads prior to its adoption. Hence, it has been deemed best to allow it to remain undisturbed in its essential features. Tariffs have also been promulgated and put in force upon a uumber of short line roads of the State.
In the suits instituted against the Commission in which injunctions were adverse to the Commission, and the same are now pending and are being diligently pressed for final adjudication.
We have seen no good reason to recede from the position taken in the First Annual Report, with reference to additional legislation needed to make the Commission a more efficient agent in producing the beneficient results for which it was created. With this end in view, appropriate bills were drafted and introduced in both houses of the last Legislature, but failed of passage. We feel that no useful purpose would be subserved by bringing these bills upon the record at this time. This, however, will be done in a subsequent report.
Many complaints of inadequate transportation facilities have been filed by shippers, reciting their inability to procure cars for the prompt transportation of freight. The causes of some of these complaints have been removed with reasonable promptness upon application to the proper railroad officials. Others have required more decisive action upon the part of the Commis. sion and several citations have been issued, hearings had, orders and opinions rendered. In one instance, suit has been ordered in a state court with a view to a final settlement of a very important point in issue. Orders and opinions in these cases are in tho proper appendix to this report.
Our attention has been called to many instances of alleged overcharges in freight rates, demurrage, etc. Each case has been given a thorough investigation, and, when just cause of complaint was found, the matter was brought to the notice or the proper railroad officials.
In a large majority of instances, these claims were amicably settled, the amount of overcharge refunded to the shipper, or the demurrage remitted. Others have, however, required hearings.
The correspondence of the office has been voluminous, but only such letters as are deemed of public interest, because relating to the construction of the law, or explanations of the tariff, are brought upon the record in the appendix.
The gathering of such statistics as are contemplated by the law has proven an undertaking involving a vast amount of labor and correspondence, and is still in an unsatisfactory condition, but such as we have been able to compile is herewith Aled.
DISTRIBUTION OF REPORTS.
On account of the inadequacy of the amount a propriated by the last Legislature for postage and express, we have been unable to distribute copies of the First Annual Report as generally as we believe the public good demands. In fact, those sent out have gone either at the individual expense of the members of the Commission, or through the Wells-Fargo Express Company and the Pacific Express Company. Both of the above named com