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however, the system of making purely political appointments has been largely discarded, and a certain fitness for the position is required of the applicants.
The scope of the activities of these commissions dif. fers widely in different states. In one state, a commission may be vested with authority to inquire into only certain phases of railway operation, while in another, the authority vested contemplates all transportation activities. The problems which come before commissions of the latter type may fall into any one of the following divisions: (1) problems of incorporation, (2) problems of construction, (3) problems of operation, (4) problems of compensation, and (5) problems of legislation.
As regards the various states, public utility regulations are not concerned totally with matters pertaining to transportation, but any other items of public welfare, such as telegraph and telephone companies, water and electric light companies, gas companies, local street traction companies, elevated and subway lines, grain elevators, and warehouses, are subjected to review by commissions.
In the promotion of new transportation enterprises, a comprehensive investigation is necessary to determine the merits of the project. The country is replete with evidences of ill-advised railroad construction. Transportation companies of the same or of a different type have been permitted to construct lines parallel to those of existing companies in an area that could support only one company adequately.
In France, before a charter of incorporation is granted, the projection of the railroad is intelligently surveyed. Positive assurance is obtained that the district is not already adequately supplied with transportation facilities, and that the new project is an actual necessity. The intelligent prosecution of such a policy in this country would do much toward developing many of the inland counties that are not now served by transportation companies of any kind.
Questions of railway construction frequently involve the granting of the right of eminent domain whereby private property may be condemned for the use of transportation enterprise. Questions like the elimination of grade crossings, the surrounding of the right of way by necessary safeguards in the form of fencing, cattle guards, danger signals, and the like, frequently come before the commission for review, and for the issuance of an order.
In the matter of operation, the quality or frequency of service is sometimes a bitter bone of contention between the carriers and the public, and the commission has to intervene and endeavor to adjust the situation amicably. Such questions as the number of trains, the stopping of limited trains, the installation of terminal facilities, the length of sheets used in berths of sleeping cars, ventilation of passenger equipment, drinking cups and water, quarantine regulations for live stock, whistle and bell signals, are a few of the momentous questions which have occasionally occupied the attention of our high-salaried commissioners. Compensation
As concerns the traffic field, the question of compensation is perhaps the most acute issue confronting these bodies. The common law conveys to common carriers the right to exact a reasonable charge for their services. What, however, a reasonable charge is can be determined only after a very exhaustive investigation, supplemented by the testimony of experts and by the introduction of voluminous exhibits of figures and charts.
At this point, the trained traffic man comes into prominence, for he is an expert, and he can prepare the necessary evidence. A lawyer of average training makes a sorry spectacle in handling rate issues or traffio complaints because of his unfamiliarity with the fundamental principles of traffic work. Likewise, the traffic man with experience but without technical training does not gain anything by comparison with his legal brother; he is unfamiliar with the points of law, the court procedure, and the method of handling public utility complaints.
Graduates, however, of responsible institutions offering courses in scientific traffic management possess the necessary qualifications to prosecute this work intelligently. Many men engaging in this work with considerable success have been so trained.
With respect to problems of legislation, the transportation problem is an everchanging kaleidoscope; the legislation of to-day may not be sufficient for the needs of to-morrow. As a consequence, the commission should be alive to the demands of the day so that, when the need of additional legislation becomes apparent, it can make its recommendations to the legislature or to congress, and the law can be passed, giving, if necessary, authority to the commission to administer it.
No uniformity prevails in the organization of these commissions; the military, the line-and-staff, or the functional type of organization is employed. Fig. 61 indicates a line-and-staff organization with a plural executive control. In the case of the more progressive commissions, however, the functional type seems to predominate. In this type of organization, a certain commissioner, or a branch of the commission, will decide upon complaints falling within a certain province, namely, telegraph and telephone; another division may pass on questions relating to water rates and electric light rates; and a third division, on the practices of a common carrier.
As a rule, a commission consists of three or more commissioners, a secretary, a staff of technical experts, and a clerical force to attend to the necessary routine work. In some cases, the commissioners are elected by the voters of the state; in other cases the commissioners are appointed by the governor, their term of office varying in the different dominions and in some instances, a proviso being ingrafted in the statute creating the commission that the commission is not to be composed exclusively of adherents of any one party.
In Illinois, the chairman of the Public Utility Commission is appointed by the governor. In other jurisdictions, the commissioners themselves select one of
REPORTS AND LIBRARY
ASST CHIEF ENGINEER
I CHIEF OP DIVISION
I ASST ENGINEER
3 SAFETY APPLIANCE INSPECTORS
1 GRADE SEPARATION ENGINEER TELEPHONE DIVISION
1 CHIEF OP DIVISION
I CHIEF OF DIVISION
WATER AND HEATING
I CHIEF OF DIVISION
I ABST ENGINEED
FIG. 61.- Organization of Illinois Public Utilities Commission