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culture and resources and tourists. None of these can possibly come into their full importance unless new highways and roads can be constructed in a planned and logical manner and we think that consideration should be given to building a highway system in Alaska based on economic development needs. It is difficult for us to plan a highway program unless we can count on reasonable amounts of money to be appropriated by Congress on a guaranteed basis.
It is the opinion of this organization that there is a definite need for some type of highway formula to be developed for Alaska which will enable us to carry forward on such a program. Federal highway appropriations in the past 10 years have varied from a little over $2 million to a high of almost $30 million. It is true that fairly sizable amounts have been expended from 1949 to 1955 but there appears to be increasing pressure to cut back on future appropriations due to the completion or the near completion of the military highway program.
Alaskans were urged by Congress to increase the Territorial motor-fuel taxes so that we could help in financing our own highways. This was accomplished in the 1955 legislature wherein the motor-fuel taxes were increased from 2 cents to 5 cents per gallon. Under the Federal highway formula of 1954, it has been roughly estimated that Alaska could receive a total of about $34,450,000 per year but there is a grave question as to whether enough money can be raised inside of Alaska to take care of the maintenance and administrative costs in connection with being included in the Fereral-aid-to-highway formula. It has also been estimated that the total motor-fuel taxes with this 3-cent raise which was passed in the last legislature will bring us a total of approximately $2 million per year. This amount, therefore, might be matched under the Federal-aid formula and bring approximately $12,640,000 of Federal func's hut the Territory would then have to pick up the tab for $3,500,000 of maintenance and additional administrative cost.
At this point it might be well to mention that we feel the statehood bill has very generous and desirable provisions for Alaska's highway needs, and this is stiil another reason why the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce is favoring statehood at the earliest possible date. However, we still ask ourselves this question: in event of delay of statehood Alaska still needs a highway program. We ask the assistance of this committee in helping to develop a formula for Alaska's highway needs which would be based on the amount of money Alaska could afford to put up on some type of a matching fund and which at the same time would take care of our maintenance and administrative costs.
Getting down to specific highway needs, there are several items which concern this area in the road and highway program. The Anchorage chamber is now in the process of doing research on a possible road link between here and McGrath and the upper Kuskokwin River. We believe that such a road would have many economic benefits; it would pass through good birch timber, part of the largest birch stand west of the Mississippi, and go over excellent agricultural lands of the Susitna and the highly mineralized parts of the Alaska Range. Such a road link would be means of tying in the vast Kuskokwin areas directly with the Anchorage trade center and would make possible a greatly improved and cheaper way of getting freight in and out of this interior country. Substantial savings could be realized to the military, Civil Aeronautics Authority, Native Service, and other Interior agencies having to service that region.
There is a need at the present time for the Alaska Road Commission to initiate reconnaissance and preliminary surveys of a suitable route which would generally follow the old Rainy Pass trail. The approximate mileage from Wasilla, which is near where the road would begin to Takotna, nearing McGrath, is about 314 miles, and very rough preliminary estimates place the cost of construction at around $14 million.
The Anchorage chamber also supports other road projects such as the construction of the Copper River highway and a possible road link from the area of Iliamna across the bay from Homer to Dillingham and the Bristol Bay region.
In addition to our local road needs, as has been outlined by the city so ably, chamber would like to see this committee urge our Canadian neighbors to pave the Alcan Highway. It is our opinion that if this highway were paved all the way from the United States, there would be a tremendous increase in traffic over it, especially by visitors in the summer season.
We wish to thank the committee for allowing us to appear today and hope that we can both work together for the future development of Alaska.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF CLAUDE BENTZ, CHAIRMAN, ANCHORAGE CHAMBER MARITIME COMMITTEE, AND PRESIDENT NORTH STAR STEVEDORING Co.
MARITIME SHIPPING The economic lifeline to Alaska is still its maritime shipping. Oceangoing transportation brings to Alaska almost every item that it has to have for everyday living. Maritime shipping is also the prime means of supply to the military forces in Alaska. Importance of this sea transportation was stressed several times in the past when certain ports have been tied up through labor disputes. The impact upon the economy of Alaska and upon the livelihood of all the people here was substantially affected.
Alaska has had its many serious transportation problems over the years which have resulted in certain basic changes. There is probably no time in Alaska's history where there are more drastic and serious changes being considered than at the present time, particularly in the maritime shipping situation.
In effect, we may say that we are in a transportation revolution. As recent as 4 years ago, we began to see these basic changes take place such as the Alaska Freight Lines operations bringing in barges loaded with truck vans which were loaded in the Pacific Northwest in sealed vans and not opened again until they reached their destination. We watched as an infant trucking business began to compete with the Alaska Railroad over new highways which had been built by the Federal Government. We saw more emphasis being put on new port development such as Whittier and a switch in the conventional freight-handling methods on oceangoing freighters over to the container and palatized cargo operations both on coastwise and Alaska steamship transportation.
Perhaps the important part of this transportation revolution will be accomplished through the initiation of a train-ship or sea-train service between the Pacific Northwest and rail-belt Alaska. The matter of sea trains has been under discussion for a number of years but it was not until this past year that it appeared that there was any serious thought being given this matter. The Army Transportation Corps produced a document which was done by William Wyer & Co. entitled the “Wyer Report” dated May 27, 1954, on the ocean car-ferry operation between the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. This report dealt with the use of the train-ship operation in some detail. After considerable urging the Army made this report public in the spring of this year. Last fall the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce was led to believe that the Alaska Railroad was conducting investigation into the matter of sea trains or train ships and that they were starting to negotiate with various water carriers. The chamber feeling that this was a basic concern that should be discussed publicly before any agreements were signed and sealed and delivered, requested the Secretary of Interior to conduct public hearings in Alaska. Secretary McKay replied to us the early part of the year that the Department of Interior had no jurisdiction and that it would have to be settled either by the Federal Maritime Board or the Interstate Commerce Commission and that there was some question as to which agency or both would have jurisdiction over the matter. He did, however, invite us to meet with the general manager of the Alaska Railroad, Mr. Frank H. Kalbaugh, at that time and go over the situation with him. The chamber had prepared a list of approximately eight basic questions which were asked and we were unable to get the necessary answers. Following this meeting, we met jointly with the Seward Chamber of Commerce and decided that we should take our problem to Senator Magnuson, of the Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. It was the result of this action and the backing of the other chambers of commerce in the Territory that influenced Senator Magnuson's decision to hold hearings sometime in October on the matter of transportation problems in Alaska.
Two weeks ago the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce met with a representative of the Alaska Steamship Company who we were told had been selected as the train ship or sea train operator. We were told that the Alaska Steamship Company had been authorized to build two train ships for use in the Alaska trade which would cost approximately $20 million, the cost of which would be financed through the Federal Government on a mortgage basis which was authorized by the Federal Maritime Board. The ships are being designed to handle, as we understand it, 110 rail cars and 60 trailer vans. That two ports would be used, the Port of Whittier and the Ames terminal at Seattle and that roll-on roll-off type facilities would be constructed at each of these ports. Basically, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce feels that sea trains will be a beneficial move to the shippers in the rail belt. It will certainly expedite service and also eliminate a great deal
of pilferage and breakage of cargo. However, there are still some questions that should be answered before the service goes into effect.
First, if the Federal Government is underwriting the mortgage for construction of these train ships for the Alaska Steamship Company, does this in effect constitute a chosen instrument policy for maritime shipping in Alaska? We hope that it does not, since it may become economically feasible for a second carrier to operate a similar service in the future.
2. That with only two ports being used on a roll-on roll-off type operation in event of any port shutdowns, this would be a crippling blow to the entire sea-train operation. We hope that plans will be made for the use of alternate ports in an emergency basis. Originally, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce requested the Alaska Railroad in negotiations with the ocean carrier to suggest a lift-on lift-off type of operation which incidently was also recommended in the Wyer report because it was more adaptable to Alaskan conditions. In other words, if at some point the port of Whittier may not be any use, then cargo could be taken into Seward or Valdez or other shipping points.
3. We also raised the question that was bro'ight out on the Wyer report that if these train ships are designed to handle up to 60 trailer vans and the port in Alaska is Whittier, that this port is only served by the Alaska Railroad and has no access by highway. This would appear to be a move by the Alaska Railroad to monopolize this type of business and to eliminate its trucking competition. The point was also raised in the Wyer report that if the larger vans were placed on flatcars for a piggy-back operation, that they would not be able to clear the tunnel at Whittier.
4. Although the shipping operator has guaranteed to provide the conventional type of service using container cargos in some cases to other ports in Alaska, it would appear that they would have a very difficult time of keeping the frequency of schedules that they have had in the past, particularly, to the ports of western Alaska.
5. We believe that the matter of the agency to have jurisdiction over the interline agreements in connection with this sea-train operation, be designated as soon as possible.
6. Since we are vitally interested in protecting existing service that we now enjoy to other Pacific coast ports such as Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, we wonder what effect this train ship will have on reducing cargo from these points. As stated previously, we believe that the train-ship idea is an excellent one and will bring and pass on many benefits to rail-belt shippers.
However, these few points that we have raised, are questions that we would like to have answered by the shipping operator and by the Department of the Interior who apparently have negotiated the agreement without the benefit of a public hearing where the people most vitally affected, the Alaskan shipper, could be heard.
Another point that should be raised in connection with maritime shipping to and from the Territory of Alaska, is the fact that most of Alaskan shipping on a civilian basis is a one-way haul from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska. Maritime shipping here has suffered severely from Government competition, namely, in the MSTS. Many times MSTS ships swing in here from the Orient and pick up obsolete equipment for delivery back to the States. If this cargo were placed aboard civilian ships, it would help immeasurably toward reduction of the oneway haul and might even lead to a lowering of rates.
In addition, we feel that one of the greatest benefits that could occur in reduction of rates to the rail belt would be for the development of the port of Anchorage which will be touched on by another speaker at this hearing.
I wish to thank the committee for allowing me to appear before you today and would be most happy to answer any questions that you might have on maritime shipping.
STATEMENT OF WALTER J. HICKEL, CHAIRMAN, ELECTRIC POWER COMMITTEE,
ANCHORAGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Greater Anchorage area, as predicted, will be out of adequate electric power by 1957. Because of the rapid growth of the region and the increased demand for electric power, authorities have been hard pressed to keep up with the tremendous expansions. From the end of World War II, right up until the time that the Eklutna project was put on the line in November 1954, the area was saddled with what would normally be called high-cost generating units made up
of a patchwork of diesel generators and even an old half of ship pulled up on the beach near the mouth of Ship Creek. It has only been since the Eklutna project has been on the line that electric rates have started to drop substantially for customers in the area. In addition to Eklutna, the Knik Arm steam plant which was built by the Bureau of Reclamation and has now become part of the Chugach REA plant, has 9,500 kilowatt steam generation with an addition being built to provide 5,000 more kilowatt-capacity-in addition to Eklutna's 30,000 kilowatts of installed capacity.
Taking these new facilities into consideration, it is still estimated that there will have to be additional generation by the year 1957 or the area will again be saddled with a patchwork high-cost power-generating system.
It is with this immediate problem in mind that the REA cooperatives now look to the Kenai Peninsula for power from Cooper Lake, Crescent Lake, Ptarmigan Lake and other major power potentials of that region, in addition to the Bradley Lake project in the vicinity of Homer. Also active in power investigation is United States Army Corps of Engineers, who we have urged to testify at these hearings and the Bureau of Reclamation is considering developments on Caribou Creek and in the Susitna Basin.
It is well to point out at this time that the Eklutna project provides the lowest cost power wholesaled at 11 mills to the city and to the REA cooperatives. This still may be termed as relatively high cost when thinking in terms of industrial development, especially those that may consume large blocks of electric power in the electrochemical or electrometallurgical fields.
Plans have been discussed in this past year to establish a nitrate plant in the region similar to the one that was constructed in Iceland. A small nitrate plant of this nature would take a minimum of 15,000 kilowatts.
The people of Alaska and Anchorage recognize that hydroelectric power can be a strong magnet to attract industries which Alaska desperately needs. Industries which can process and use our production materials available in this vast region. It is because of this that we have taken a particular interest in the development of the Wood Canyon Cite on the Copper River which is now under active investigation by the Harvey Machine Works of Torrance, Calif. The Wood Canyon site is reported to be able to produce close to 172 million kilowatts of electric power at cost below 4 mills. We are therefore anxious that every effort be made by the Federal Government to assist in the realization of this development.
We believe there are numerous power sites in this region that should have further investigation by Bureau of Reclamation, Geological Survey, and United States Army Corps of Engineers. Some of these we realize will not bring power to us at low enough cost for light metals industry but they would give power at much lower rates than we now have today and furnish blocks for industrial energy. Such sites as these exist at Devils Canyon on the Susitna River which if developed would produce 450,000 kilowatts power or the Caribou Creek developments which could likely bring us approximately 30,000 kilowatts of installed capacity.
We are encouraged over the fact that Congress made it possible for the Bureau of Reclamation to stay in Alaska over the next 10 years and carry out a $200,000 per year investigative program.
In addition to the work that is now going on, we have high hopes that those agencies operating power-generating units, will see fit to create a power pool which we believe is an answer to reduced electric costs.
There has been a great deal of talk recently about the feasibility and possibility of utilizing Alaska's coal resources for the generation of electric power. We have every reason to believe that with new processes that have been developed in handling and treating of coals in power generation, that thermal power could be competitive with hydroelectric power in Alaska.
We understand that ALCOA now operates a powerplant in Texas which produces light metals from power generated by coal. We also understand that extensive work has been carried out in Pennsylvania in the utilization of coal in thermal. One of our great handicaps, however, is the fact that we do not know the extent of our coal reserves in many regions in Alaska but would like to suggest that perhaps the Bureau of Mines could carry out investigative work and that material might be furnished to us by other sources in the Interior Department which would give us vital and up-to-date information on the feasibility of thermal power generation in Alaska.
As it now stands, the Anchorage area will be short of power again in just 2 years. We hope that your committee will help us solve this very difficult problem.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. MORAN, UNITED STATES COMMIS
SIONER, ANCHORAGE AND WHITTIER PRECINCTS, THIRD DIVISION, DISTRICT OF ALASKA, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA; AC. COMPANIED BY MR. PARSONS, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Mr. MORAN. William J. Moran, United States commissioner of the Anchorage and Whittier precincts.
Mr. BARTLETT. And I see you have an associate witness with you.
Mr. Moran. Yes, sir, Mr. Parsons, Alaska Department of Public Health, more particularly of the section of mental health, who is going to speak on a topic in which we have a very strong professional and mutual interest.
As Mr. Plummer suggested when he talked about United States commissioners, we have, in addition to those duties normally performed by commissioners elsewhere under the United States, certain ex officio functions. Included among those are the duty of presiding over probate court for the Territory of Alaska, and included in the usual duties of a probate judge is the duty of presiding at commitment hearings concerning those who are alleged to be legally insane.
Now you all have heard a great deal about the mental health bill or rather the legislation in Alaska under which those alleged to be insane are committed, and I shall not dwell upon that. Needless to say, however, the commitment of the insane in Alaska and their care is a matter which has been reserved to the Federal Congress by the Organic Act, and consequently it would appear to me the Congress must take a keen interest in how those people are committed and how they are detained pending commitment and subsequent thereto.
Now, here in Anchorage we are much better off, frankly, than are the other communities in Alaska. We have an excellent Federal jail here. It is well managed. We have also the Air Force hospital, which is a combined hospital for the Armed Forces. They have an excellent psychiatric ward and they will accept veterans.
We certainly have the most excellent cooperation from those people, both the Veterans' Administration and the Air Force hospital people. But we are still faced with the fact that for those persons who are not veterans, cannot claim that status, that the United States marshal when these people are brought into his custody—and in some instances it is absolutely essential that the person he detained—he has no alternative but to lodge those people in the Federal jail. I have said it is an excellent facility, and I believe it is. Mr. Cox, who is director of the Federal jail system, and his staff, I think, are excellent people and doing everything they can to solve this problem, but the fact remains that it is a penal institution and not a facility in which the ill, whether physically or mentally ill, should be detained. They do not have those facilities,
Now to me the problem is the greater because we do have in Anchorage an excellent facility with a fine mental or psychiatric ward. That is the Alaska Native Hospital, more properly referred to as Anchorage Hospital. But since July 1 it has been operated by the United States Public Health Service. There are 10 rooms especially designed and equipped to handle mentally ill people. Even though they may be violent in their reaction in their mental illness, now we