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NORTH CAROLINA RAILROAD COMMISSION.
L. C. CALDWELL,
JNO. H. PEARSON,
D. H. ABBOTT.
HENRY C. BROWN,
APR 16 1917
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.
OFFICE OF THE BOARD OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS.
RALEIGH, N. C., December 31, 1898. To the Honorable D. L. RUSSELL,
Governor of North Carolina : SIR:--Pursuant to law the Board of Railroad Commissioners have the honor to submit to your Excellency the annual report, embracing a statement of all the business transacted by the railroads in the State during the present year, together with that of telegraph, telephone and steamboats, also the valuation of the property of each as assessed for taxation.
After deliberation, the Board decided to increase the valuation of the railroad and telegraph companies $4,462,768.95, which increase was acquiesced in by those interested.
For years the different transportation companies had extended many courtesies, in the way of giving free passes, without any intention of violating the law.
On February 23, 1898, an order was passed by the Board of Railroad Commissioners, prohibiting the further giving of any special rate, rebate, etc., and demanding a strict compliance with section 4, chapter 320 of the Acts of the General Assembly. (Order No. 81.)
The Board respectfully submits to your Excellency, that said order is being “ lived up to” by the roads, and that absolute equality-the demand of the law-is being measured out
The delay, formerly, in settlement of overcharges upon shipments has been met by requiring the common carrier, within thirty days after notice of such overcharge, to refund the same. (Order No. 77.)
The general depression of our agricultural interest brought up for consideration the rates upon commercial fertilizers and corn to points within the State, and the same has been equitably adjusted by the roads, showing a desire to bear some of the burdens and putting in force the orders made by this Board, respectively, twenty per cent reduction on fertilizers and ten per cent on corn. (Order No. 78. Order No. 79.)
Another order of the Board, of great convenience to the travelling public, is that where mileage books are made good for members of families and those living as a purt of said families-thus consolidating many tickets into one purchase. (Order No. 99.)
It was the desire of the Board to have the telegraph and express companies contribute to the maintenauce of the late unpleasantness with Spain, by the payment of the tax imposed by Congress upon all bills of shipments and messages handled. The Express Company complied with an order of this Board, requiring the carrier to affix the stamp—but after being enjoined, and a decision of the courts, the Board was compelled to rescind its · order touching the payment of said tax by the Telegraph Company, and the " Joneses pay the freight.”
The Telephone charges have been considered by us, and action taken, making a reduction in the rates charged. A determination thereof must await the adjudication of our State courts, where the same is now pending.
The reduction of the passenger rates upon various roads of the State has been under consideration and has received most careful attention, and while no general reduction has been made, the Board, in its judgment, selected the great systems, and after gathering all the information possible, reduced the rates on the Wilmington and Weldon line from 35 cents to 2 y first class, and from 234 to 2 cents second-class, this line being by far the most able to stand the reduction. This matter is now pendling in the Federal Courts.
The same questions of law, and almost of facts, arose in the consideration of the reduction of the rates upon the Raleigh and Gaston Road as in the Wilmington and Weldon Road, and the Board not desiring to multiply the actions in courts and add expenses to the State, ordered the decision in the Raleigh and Gaston withheld, to abide the decision in the cause now pending.
The rate upon the North Carolina Road was not reduced, for the reasons set forth in the report.
It has been the duty and pleasure of the Board to pass upon all matters coming before us, and to give each that consideration necessary to a proper determination thereof. All of which is submitted with the accompanying report. Respectfully submitted,
L. C. CALDWELL, Chairman,
Commissioners. H. C. BROWN. Clerk.