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improvement of our rivers and harbors and internal waterways; therefore be it
Resolved, That the National Board of Trade urges upon Congress the necessity of regular appropriations of not less than $50,000,000 per annum for inland waterway improvements; these appropriations to be applied in such manner as to permit of progressive, continuous and permanent work being done upon such projects as may be deemed necessary for the proper development of the transportation interests of the country by water.
Resolved, That a policy of co-operation between the National Government, the States, municipalities or corporations, looking to the speedy development of urgent local improvements is heartily: indorsed by this body and is respectfully commended to the consideration of Congress.
Mr. Wood, of Philadelphia. I am sorry to hear that old shibboleth about the $50,000,000. I am heartily in favor of the expression, but I think, as we have had that $50,000,000 kept before us for several years now, that it has become a little tiresome. Suppose that Congress should think that $49,000,000 was sufficient for some particular year, or that $60,000,000 were the better sum. I think that language about $50,000,000 is getting worn out and that we ought really to ask the United States Government to take a comprehensive view of what is coming from all parts of the country and that the appropriate department (whether the Coast Survey or some other) should, before it begins to spend any sum, find out exactly what is wanted. If a sensible man wants to make a farm out of wild ground, he will have a thorough survey made before he commences any improvements. I think the United States Government ought to treat the whole country, between the two oceans and between the Great Lakes and the Gulf, on a common system, and ought to have made a complete hydrologic survey before it begins to spend any money at all, and then appropriations ought to be made for that survey.
I move to amend by inserting the words “adequate amount" in lieu of the words “$50,000,000.”
Mr. Fry, of Philadelphia.—Mr. President, in the making up this report by your committee, the question of inserting $50,000,000 was taken into consideration and talked over very thoroughly. The minimum amount of $50,000,000 seems to be the amount that is asked of Congress for the commencement of these improvements. We all know, however, that $50,000,000 will not be enough. So what is the use of submitting to Congress a petition asking for “an adequate amount,” or “a sufficient amount"? The minimum amount of $50,000,000 contributed yearly will start operations. It shows to Congress that we have taken into consideration the requirements that will be necessary, so far as the appropriations are concerned, in order to carry on this work, and it gives an impetus to the work that probably would not be given unless a specific sum is named. For that reason the committee concluded that it was very pertinent to name a specified amount, a minimum sum, that Congress might appropriate. During the conventions, held in Philadelphia, of the Atlantic Coast Association and the Congress of Waterways, it was brought prominently before them that the specific sum should be mentioned. Mr. Burton himself said before the Convention of Waterways that he was in favor of an annual appropriation of $50,000,000. We do not say that it shall be only $50,000,000, but that an amount not less than $50,000,000 should be appropriated. That is why that amount was put in. I do not think it is a worn-out expression; I do not think it is tiresome; I do not think it is a matter that can be tabooed by anybody because we ask for an amount which is sufficient to start the work.
So far as the surveys, to which Mr. Wood refers, are concerned, of course the Government will take charge of that matter. The proper officials of the Government all know that there will have to be surveys, and they are entirely familiar with the details. It was not in accordance with the views of your committee to take up a matter of detail, so far as general work is concerned, but to designate to the National Board of Trade what is desired by the citizens of the United States.
I hope the proposed amendment will not prevail. I think members of Congress are prepared to meet the issue of $50,000,000. I think the Committee on Rivers and Harbors are in accord with that amount, and I believe if we strike it from the report, and state only “an adequate amount,” it will tend to discourage and stop appropriations, and will afford
an excuse for giving us a very much smaller amount than is necessary. If we desire the waterways of the country improved, if we desire to have the rivers and harbors taken care of, we must ask Congress, through its Committee on Rivers and Harbors, for what we want.
I should be very glad to have Mr. WOOD withdraw his proposed amendment.
Mr. HAUPT, of Philadelphia.—Mr. President, I do not want to take up the time of the Board with any long address on this subject. My friend, Mr. WOOD, has made a very potent suggestion, which I think has been very well answered by our Chairman, Mr. Fry.
I should like to call attention to the fact that there has been already approved over $500,000,000 worth of work, which should be completed, but which is not now in existence, and if we ever hope to get adequate results we must have large appropriations.
I believe that the members of Congress want to know how far they are justified by their constituents in making appropriations for this particular purpose. I think we all realize the fact that the money of the United States cannot be more judiciously expended or more economically invested than in waterways, and therefore we may very properly place the minimum amount which we think should go into the bill and say that it should be an annual appropriation, in order that in the near future we may possibly secure the results so absolutely necessary to the transportation interests of the country.
We all understand, Mr. President, that there will be no river and harbor bill this year, notwithstanding all the pressure that has been brought to bear to secure one, because of the great demands for the naval establishment and for pensions. We have been trying for years to secure a change in the allotment of the public funds so that more may be appropriated for constructive and peace development than is now spent for destruction and non-revenue producing investments.
I think, therefore, that this amendment ought not to be withdrawn, but that we should insist upon at least $50,000,000. The PRESIDENT.-You want the amendment withdrawn?
Mr. Haupt.-No, sir; we ought not to withdraw it, but insist upon that amount at least annually until we can be sure of beneficial results.
The PRESIDENT.—The amendment proposed is to insert "an adequate amount,” in lieu of $50,000,000. You are speaking to the amendment.
Mr. Haupt.—I am speaking to the amendment. I think the amendment ought not to prevail.
The PRESIDENT.-Do you offer an amendment to that amendment?
Mr. Haupt.—No, I suggest that it be voted down.
Mr. ROGERS, of Philadelphia.-As a member of that committee, sir, I must oppose the amendment. While there is merit in the amendment offered by Mr. WOOD, and while it may appear to our friends in Congress that this National Board of Trades advocates what might be called a "chestnut,' yet at the same time, sir, I believe that if we keep pounding at Congress with the sledge-hammer blows that we have heretofore given, Congress will say, “I guess those fellows mean business,” and if we don't get $50,000,000 we may get half of it. I therefore oppose the amendment.
The PRESIDENT.—Are there any further remarks ? It is moved that "$50,000,000" be stricken out and “an adequate amount” inserted in lieu thereof.
The amendment was rejected.
The PRESIDENT.-The question now recurs on the adoption of the resolution.
The resolution was adopted.
DEPARTMENT OF CONSTRUCTION WORK. Mr. Gibson, of New York.—Mr. President, representing an association having an independent resolution that seems to be very pertinent, this seems an opportune time to offer the
resolution, after this report with which it is very closely connected.
I was authorized by my association to amend this resolution and put it in such form as I might deem most proper. So I have changed the verbiage of it and offer it in this form :
Resolved, That there should be created, as a department of the general government of the United States, a Department of Public Works, with a Secretary at its head, which department shall have charge of all construction work to be done by the general government, including that of river and harbor improvements, and having such control of navigable waters as it may seem proper and most judicious to confer upon it.
I want to say, Mr. President, if proper for me to say anything upon the resolution
The PRESIDENT.—Perfectly proper, sir. Mr. GIBSON.—A man who holds a brief for the purpose of changing an existing organization—or of changing what may appear to be a systematic disorganization, particularly when it relates to a change in the formation and administration of the general government–is undertaking a very large contract, as we all know from the length of time it took to establish a. Department of Commerce and Labor. But it seems very pertinent that this change should be made, or that the initiative should be taken now, in view of the fact that the improvement of rivers and harbors has had some life injected into it.
If we were about to spend in business $50,000,000, or any other considerable sum, we would hold fast to our $50,000,000 until we had some kind of a systematic business organization through which it might be expended. What led to an examination of the matter on the part of the Board of Trade and Transportation of New York, was the remarks of Mr. LEWIS M. Nixon, who said that any attempt to remove obstructions in the harbor of New York would find no department of the general Government that seems to have any control of the matter, and that it was with very great difficulty that he eventually found authority that was willing to act. An examination, then, of the whole question of public works disclosed the fact that it had grown up without any systematic organization whatever; that in the early part of the history of