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2d Session.

No. 93.

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Against being tarea for special improrements, as recommended by the board

of audit ; together with copy of correspondence between the road and said bouwd upon this subject.

FEBRUARY 27, 1875.-Referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia and

ordered to be printed.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the l'nited States :

The petition of the undersigned respectfully represents that, by the sixth section of the act of Congress entitled “An act for the government of the District of Columbia and for other purposes," approved June 20, 1874, the board of audit was required to ascertain and report to Congress at the next session thereof the amount equitably chargeable to the street-railroad companies, pursuant to the charters of said companies or the acts of Congress relating thereto, together with their reasons therefor.

A report has been made by sail board which omits important facts so far as the the Columbia Road is concernel, and fails to present pesitions of importance to it.

The undersignel, therefore, beg leave to call the attention of your honorable body to a commiwication aldressed by said board to the president of said railroad, as follows:

OFTICE BOARD OF AUDIT,
COLUMBLE BUILDING, FOURTIL-AND-A-HALF STREET,

Washington, Norember 13, 1374. To the PRESIDENT of the Columbia Street-Ruilway Company,

Iashington, D. C.: Sir: Among the duties imposed mpon the board of audit is that of ascertaining and reporting to Congress the amount equitably chargeable to the street-railroad companies on accont of paving along and within the tracks of saill companies, or the acts of Congress relating thereto, with their reasons therefor; and for the purpose of their organization the board are authorized to subpana witnesses, administer oaths, and examine witnesses under oath.

For a full and fair consideration of the question above referred to, they deem it important, in addition to the information alreads in their possession, they should have certain further information, and therefore have to request that you will furnish the board of audit with a full statement covering the following points:

First. The average number of cars run per day, and the average receipts per day for each.

Second. The average running expenses per day for each car.
Third. The gross receipts and expenditures for each year.
Fourth. The actual cost of the construction of your road.

Fifth. The par value of each share of stock, and the number of shares which have been issued.

Sixth. The number of shares originally issued and what number of shares have since been issried.

Seventh. What amount was paid in upon each share, and what amount, if any bas since been assessed, or paid thereou.

Eighth. The amount of dividends paid on each share for each year.

It is the request of the board of audit that the statement made upon the points should be under oath, and returned to this office as early as practicable. And it is also desired, if you wish to submit any suggestions bearing upon the main question, that they should be submittea in writing as early as practicable. Very respectfully,

S. M. WILCOX,

For the Board of Audit. And they also call attention to the answer to the foregoing letter, viz:

WASHINGTON, D. C.,

Vorember 27, 1874. To the BOARD OF Audit of District of Columbia :

In your communication of the 18th instant, after propounding a series of questions concerning the Columbia Street-Railroad, you invite suggestions as to the amount which should be equitably chargeable against the road for paving along and within its track.

The propounded questions will be found answered in an attached paper marked A ; and I vow present iny views respecting charges against the road for javing.

I. And in doing this, it will be proper in the outset to refer to the provisions of the act of Congress of June 20, 1874, which is the basis of your inquiry and suggestions. It is in these words : “And said board of audit shall also ascertain and report to Congress, at the next session thereof, the amount equitably chargeable to the streetrailroad companies on account of paving along and within the tracks of said companies, pursuant to the charter of said companies, or the acts of Congress relating thereto, together with their reasons therefor.”

It is important to observe that the inquiry bere anthorized relates to the cristing charters of the railroads, or laws respecting them, and not to possible moditications of them by future legislation. It is, too, a special and not a general inquiry. Moreover, it is one exclusively equitable.

It is, indeed, simply this: Agreeably to the present charters or laws, what amount (if any) should be charged against the street-railroads for paving along and within the tracks?

This inquiry as well as the law) assumes that the District has pared along and within the tracks of the road. So far, at least, as respects the Columbia Street-Railroad, this assumption is largely erroneous.

1. Before the commencement of the improvements by the late board of public works the railroad company bad paved the entire length of its road between the rails with “ colible-stope," and except by the changes of grade by the board this pavement las not been disturbed; and where it has been, the necessary repairs bave been made by the road.

2. From Ninth to Fourteenth streets there is no pavement "along" the track. Bes tween these points the road runs through parked ground.

As regards, therefore, the pavement within the track and outside of it, from Ninth to Fourieenth streets, there is no foundation for the inquiry. For it certainly conld not be "equitable" to charge tbe railroad company for a pavement which it bas put down at its own cost, and for one " along” its track where none eriste.

II. From Fourteenth to Fifteenth streets, and from Ninth to Boundary, pavements exist, and have been put down by the District “along" the track. But does tbis fati render it just or equitable for the company to be charged with any part of the cost of the pavement ?

The answer, for various reasons, must be in the negative. Some of them mas lie appropriately mentioned:

First. The charter of the company existing at the time of the construction of the pavement, and still in force, did not require the company to pay for paving along the track of its road. On the contrary, by reference to section 5 of its charter, (10 l'.. Stats. at Large,) it will be seen that the company is required "' to keep" pot oulr its track but also a space of two feet beyond the onter rail, in the city of Washington, at all times a well paved" and in good order, without expense to the l’nited States of

the city; and outside of the city well graveled or paved and in good order. The rule of law is that the express mention of one thing implies the erclusion of another." (The R. & G. Railroad Co. 28. Reid, 13 Wallace, p. 270.)

And by the cited section the road is required not to pare or pay for paring, but to keep in repair. And this is a special burden on the road which can be enforced, and. was by the late board of public works. It is one, also, which has involved a heavy outlay, and which will continue to do so. It thus appears that while the charter of the road does not require it to pay for paving along its track, it does require it to repair; a od this excludes the paving or payments for paving by the road.

Second. No other law of Congress requires the company to pay for paving along its track.. In the 37th section of the act of February 21, 1871, entitled " An act to provide a government for the District of Columbia,” (16 U. S. Stat. L., 1. —,) provision is made for the payment of an amount not exceedling one-third of the cost of special improvements. But this is to be charged against properly adjoining and especially benefitedby the improvements.

But it will not be pretended that the track of a railroad could be especially benefited by a pavement " alongside” of it, and, if it could be, it is clear that no “assessinept" js authorized against the railroad by this act. And hence the assessments bave been coutined, properly, to privato property.

Third. The act of the legislative assembly providing for the assessment of benefiteil property contirms this view. (Chap. xxiv, Laws First Legislative Assembly, pp. 31, 32.). Among other things, it requires notices to be issuell of the assessments to “ the proprietors of property," and on a failure of payment the property to be sold and (leeds to be made vesting in the purcbasers a good and perfect tiile to the property solel. Now, the road is constructed on “avenues avd streets,” the title to which is in the United States. Hence the company cannot be the proprietor of them. It has" a nere use" of them.

No sale could confer a title. No needs could be made conreying an interest in them. The legislative assembly, therefore, did not, any more than Congress, contemplate a charge against the road for payments or special improvements.

1. As, therefore, neither the charter or any act of Congress authorized a charge against the road for paving along its track, it is manitest that none can be justly made as respects the parts of the track where the pavements have been put down.

2. And, as respects the other parts, no charges can be made, because there is not any pavement along" them.

3. And none can be made for paving within the track, because wbatever pavement exists has been constructed by the road and kept in repair—"good order”—by it.

Here the consideration of the matter might terminate, for it appears that no esisting lau requires any charge against the road for paving within or without its track, and this of itself should be conclusive. Surely it would not be equitable to impose a new or additional burden on the road, pot justified or sanctioned by any present enactment of Congress.

But it may not be improper to show why such additional charges should not be made.

1. By the third section of the charter, (16 Stat, at Large, p. 134,) it is provided that the real and personal property of the road sball be taxed “as other real and personal property.” This places the property of the road, as respects ordinary taxes, on the same ground as private or individnal property. Is not this equality of taxation enough? And the company has been taxed as here required. Besides, a license is imposed on each car. This has been paid. Should more be required? Can eqnity demand more? Certainly not.

By this section it is also provided that “the roads shall be deemed real estate, and as such sball be liable to taxation.” This would seem to contemplate taxation of the bed of the road.

But this could not have been the intention of Congress. For, apart from the fact that it would involve ineqnitable taxation—"additional, peculiar, and onerous burdens"on the road, it encounters the absurdity of tures without the means of collecíion or of a sale of the arennes and streets, which belong to the United States. Indeed, the fee of the avenues and streets has been so vested in the United States that it cannot part with it, directly or indirectly, and certainly not by a sale for non-payment of taxes.

But whatever may have been the intention of Congress, the inquiry of the board of audit is not extended to a consideration of “omitted taxes.” This belongs to others. The inquiry of the board is limited to charges for paving under existing law.

2. That frequent and often important repairs of the tracks of street-railroads and of grounds and pavements adjacent are reqnired in order to keep the roads in proper condition, will not be disputed. It is a truth familiar to all. The requirement that these repairs sball be made by the company releases the District and individual citizens from the erpense of making them, while it imposes them on the company. Does not this deserve consideration :

3. And in this connection it should not be overlooked that individual owners of property not only have been, but will be largely benefited by the road. For, to the extent to which it has put down pavements between its rails and preserved them in order, and kept up two feet of pavement on each side of the rails, assessinents agaiost individuals bave been reduced and incidental expenses diminished, and so it will continue. It bas already lesseded individual burdens, (as well as those of the District.) It cannot escape doing so hereafter.

To demand inore would seem to be clearly inequitable.

Nor should it be forgotten that the Columbia Railroad penetrated to a large extent an unimproved part of the city of Washington or District of Columbia, increased the value and consequent assessment of property, and thus added to the revenues of the District. The extent to wbich this has been done will appear in part from the statement marked B, to which special attention is invited. But for the enterprise of the company the property along a considerable part of this line would bave acquired no additional value.

Such are some of the considerations, apart from the views presented of the charter and other laws, which tend to show that it would be inequitable to charge the Columnbia Railroad withi further taxes or assessments. Its burdens are already heavy, and to increase them, wbile unjust, would seriously impair the efficiency of one of the most important enterprises in the District.

It is true that up to this time the company bas been successful in the accumulation of " earnings and dividends;" but this has been owiog to the economy and prudence with which the company has been managed.

Increased expenses will, however, become inevitable, and it is well understood that profits connected with street-railroads are uncertain, and subject to fluctuation. Nor is it wise to so burden them as to take away inducements for vigilance and care and skill in their management. Very respectfully,

H. A. WILLARD, [SEAL)

President.
WM. H. CLAGETT, [SEAL)

Secretary.

This communication was in answer to a letter from said board, and contains statements and views which, in the opinion of the undersigned, should be fully considered by Congress in connection with the report of the board of audit, so that full justice may be done said road.

And the undersigned respectfully pray that no action may be had imposing or tending to impose additional burdens on said road without allowing them a full opportunity to be heard in relation thereto. All of which is respectfully submitted.

H. A. WILLARD, President of the Columbia Railroad Company.

A.

OFFICE OF THE COLJUBIA RAILROAD COMPANY,

l'ashington, 1). C., Norember 23, 1874. To the BOARD OF Audit District of Columbia :

Interrogatories by board : 1st. The average number of cars run per day, and the average receipts per day for (11) ?

Answer. From September 1, 1871, to September 1, 1872, the company ran 8 cars. The average receipts per day for each car, $12.671. From September 1, 1872, to September 1, 18733, the company ran 12 cars. The average receipts per day for each car, $5.8334. From September 1, 1873, to September 1, 1871, the company rau ll cars. The average receipts per day for each car, $10.094.

21 interrogatory. The average running expenses per day for each car?

Auswer. From September 1, 1871, to September 1, 1872, cars run. The average ex. pense for each car per day, $7.761. From September 1, 1872, to September 1, 1273, 12

The average expense per day eachi car, $6.064. From September 1, 1873, to $.ptember 1, 1874, 11 cars run. The average expense for each car per day, $7.0-1.

31 interrogatory. The gross receipts and expenditures for each year!

Auswer. From September 1, 1871, to September 1, 1872, receipts, $37,010.03. From September 1, 1371, to September 1, 1372, expenditures, $22,986.60. From September 1, 1872, to September 1, 1873, receipts, $ 37,951.45. From September 1, 1872, to September 1, 1-73, expenditures, $26,433.29. From September 1, 1873, to September 1, 1874

(ars run.

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