Page images
PDF
EPUB

AUGUST 25, 1959. Hon. EMANUEL CELLER, Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

MY DEAR MR. CELLER: Reference is made to House Joint Resolution 402, a joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress for the States of Virginia and Maryland and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact related to the regulation of mass transit in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and for other purposes.

House Joint Resolution 402 is similar to House Joint Resolution 626 of the 85th Congress, except for a few minor typographical corrections and the addition in House Joint Resolution 402 of the fourth and fifth provisos in section 3 beginning at line 16, page 51, and ending on line 5, page 52; and of section 4 beginning on line 6, page 52, which provisos and section were not included in the similar resolution in the 85th Congress.

The Legislatures of Virginia and Maryland have already enacted the compact authorized by House Joint Resolution 402. The resolution authorizes and directs the Commissioners of the District of Columbia to enter into and execute the compact. It provides the consent and approval of Congress for each of the signatories to enter into the compact. The Commissioners, through a representative, participated with representatives of Virginia and Maryland in the negotiation and drafting of the compact and believe that there is a great need for the regulation of transit on an areawide basis and that such unified regulation cannot be achieved under the present multiplicity of jurisdictions. The compact would create a single transit district for the entire Washington metropolitan area and a single commission known as the Washington Metropolian Area Transit Commission to exercise sole jurisdiction over transit within the metropolitan area. The Commissioners of the District of Columbia therefore recommend that they be authorized by the Congress to enter into the compact and that the compact become effective at the earliest practicable date.

The compact as heretofore adopted by Virginia and Maryland does not contain the fourth and fifth provisos in section 3 nor does it contain section 4 of the resolution. The Commissioners do not oppose either the fourth or the fifth proviso in section 3 as a matter of substance, but these matters must also be considered from the standpoint of compact procedure.

Apart from consideration of merit, the problem as to whether the enactment of the provisions above referred to would constitute substantive changes to the compact requiring its readoption by Virginia and Maryland must be faced. The Commissioners feel that it is important to get interstate cooperation on the transit problem underway at the earliest practicable date and that these provisions of House Joint Resolution 402 must be considered from the standpoint of possible delay in putting the compact into effect.

Article VIII of the compact (pp. 10 and 11 of the resolution) contemplates that the Congress shall suspend the applicability of all Federal laws which are inconsistent with, or in duplication of, the provisions of the compact. Thus, the failure of the Congress to suspend Federal laws inconsistent with, or in duplication of, the provisions of the compact or the enactment in the consent legislation

(the resolution) of inconsistent or duplicatory provisions would not conform to the intentions of the signatories.

Based on this standard no objection is interposed to the fifth proviso of section 3. It is apparent from section 20(a)(1) of the compact (p. 46 of the resolution) that the signatories did not give to the compact commission jurisdiction over, among other things, wages and hours of employees. It was the intention of the compact negotiators to leave undisturbed the existing jurisdiction of State and Federal agencies over labor matters. The fifth proviso of section 3 of House Joint Resolution 402 is consistent with this legislative intent of the signatories.

It appears, however, that the fourth proviso in section 3 of the resolution may have the effect of adding a substantive provision to the compact. That proviso makes section 5(2)(c) of the Interstate Commerce Act (54 Stat. 906, 909; 63 Stat. 486; 49 U.S.C. 5(2)(c)) applicable to unifications, mergers, and acquisitions of control. Under this section the Interstate Commerce Commission, in passing upon any such transaction, must give weight to four specified considerations, including "the interest of the carrier employees affected." Section 12' of the compact deals with consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions of control, but does not contain any express requirement relating to employees. Under the compact, the Compact Commission, subject to the power to impose conditions, is required to approve a merger or similar transaction if it finds that the proposed transaction is consistent with the public interest.

The fourth proviso of section 3 of the resolution may be viewed either (1) as amending section 12 of the compact, or (2) as withholding suspension of section 5(2)(c) of the Interstate Commerce Act. Under the former view, this proviso, as an amendment to a compact provision, would require reenactment of the compact by Virginia and Maryland. Viewed as a withholding of suspension, the power reserved in the proviso would be exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission. This would create jurisdiction over mergers in both the Compact Commission and the Interstate Commerce Commission, and would be the only regulatory problem within the scope of the compact over which the Interstate Commerce Commission would retain jurisdiction. Under either view of the effect of the fourth proviso of section 3 of the resolution, it appears that the proviso is objectionable. The Commissioners recommend that it be stricken.

Section 4 of the resolution, as a substantive matter, may be construed to prevent the Compact Commission from granting temporary authorization when service has been eliminated or curtailed as the result of a strike. It was not the intent of the signatories that these provisions were to be used for the purpose of breaking a lawful strike, but, on the other hand, it was not intended by the signatories that the Compact Commission would be prohibited from exercising its power to grant temporary authority where service had been eliminated or curtailed as a result of a lawful strike. Enactment of section 4 in its present form may be construed as an amendment to section 4(d)(3) and 12(d) of the compact. The Commissioners believe that if section 4 be amended by striking the words “to break” on line 9, page 52, and inserting in lieu thereof the words "for the purpose of breaking,” the section as amended would not be inconsistent with any compact provision and, therefore, such section would not require the reenactment of the compact by Virginia and Maryland. The Commissioners recommend that the amendment be adopted.

It may be observed that the protection afforded by section 4 of House Joint Resolution 402 is more illusory than real. All of the carriers operating in the metropolitan area are unionized, and it is reasonable to expect that if any of such carriers sought temporary authority to render service in the territory of a carrier on strike, such carrier itself would risk a strike on its own operations. As a factual matter, it appears that temporary authorization would be sought only by a nonunion carrier which would have to be brought in from out of town. Since an out-of-town carrier would not have local shops and maintenance facilities, it is unlikely that such an out-of-town carrier could undertake to render any substantial temporary service.

It is recommended that the words “in substance” on line 6, page 3, be stricken. The bills enacted by Virginia and Maryland are substantially in identical language as they must be in order to constitute a compact. The words "in substance” do not necessarily convey this fact. The bills enacted by Maryland and Virginia could be similar in substance and yet greatly dissimilar in language.

In addition to striking the fourth proviso in section 3, and the foregoing amendments on pages 3 and 52, the following amendments should also be made: Page 14, line 14, strike "taxicab” and insert in lieu thereof “taxicabs,” on page 25, line 1, strike "superseded” and insert in lieu thereof "suspended”; page 42, line 3, strike “Commissioner's" and insert in lieu thereof “Commission's,” and on page 51, lines 19 and 20, strike "title 49, United States Code, sections 52(c) and (13)" and insert in lieu thereof "title 49, United States Code, sections 5(2)(c) and (13).”

A further amendment is believed desirable to make certain that any jurisdiction now vested in the Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia and in the Interstate Commerce Commission concerning carriers and persons subject to the provisions of the compact are transferred to the Metropolitan Area Transit Commission created by the compact. The following amendment, therefore, is recommended: At page 52, at the end of line 5, insert the following:

"Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia and of the Interstate Commerce Commission over all carriers and persons subject to the provisions of the Washington metropolitan area transit regulation compact are hereby transferred, as and to the extent provided therein, to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission.

The Commissioners of the District of Columbia recommend the enactment of House Joint Resolution 402, with the amendments set forth above.

Under date of August 21, 1959, the Commissioners were advised by Mr. P. S. Hughes, Assistant Director for Legislative Reference, Bureau of the Budget, Executive Office of the President, that, subject to comments concerning possible future amendments of the compact, the Bureau of the Budget would favor enactment of the resolution. Copies of the letter of the Bureau of the Budget are attached to this report.

The Commissioners feel that, if and when the Commissioners of the District of Columbia should agree to amendment of the compact, the Congress should first grant its consent or approval. Consistently with this point of view, it is recommended that the following amendment be adopted:

Page 50, line 10, following the word "compact," insert a colon and the following:

Provided, That the said Commissioners shall not adopt any amendment to the said compact for the District of Columbia under the provisions of section 1, article IX of the compact unless the said amendment has had the prior consent or approval of the Congress." Yours very sincerely,

ROBERT E. MCLAUGHLIN, President, Board of Commissioners, District of Columbia.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington, D.C., December 31, 1959. Hon. EMANUEL CELLER, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CELLER: There is pending before your committee House Joint Resolution 402, a joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress for the States of Virginia and Maryland and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact related to the regulation of mass transit in the Washington, District of Columbia, metropolitan area, and for other purposes.

We recommend that the resolution be enacted with the amendments suggested below.

The proposed compact creates a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit District. It also sets up a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission which will be the instrumentality of the three signatories with jurisdiction to regulate and improve transit and alleviate traffic congestion within the metropolitan district on a coordinated basis.

The Commission will be composed of three members, one from each of the signatory groups, and will have authority to employ such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of its functions.

The No. 1 recommendation of the recent mass transportation plan of the National Capital region is legislation to approve the compact. The compact has already been ratified by Maryland and Virginia.

Article V of the compact creates a Traffic and Highway Board to serve in an advisory capacity to the Commission. This Board will make recommendations to the Commission with respect to traffic engineering, including the selection and use of streets for transit routing, the requirements for transit service throughout the Metropolitan District, and related matters. The Board will also consider problems referred to it by the Commission and continuously study means and methods of shortening transit travel time, formulate plans with respect thereto,

and keep the Compact Commission fully advised of its plans and conclusions. Membership of the Board will be the heads of the traffic and highway departments of each of the signatories and the counties and cities encompassed with the Metropolitan District, a representative of the National Capital Planning Com

mission, a representative of the National Capital Regional Planning Council, and a representative of each local and regional planning commission. Since the national parkways in the region and many other roads, as for example Constitution Avenue, Independence Avenue, and others, under our administration are directly involved in traffic and transportation planning of the metropolitan area, we strongly recommend that this Department be represented on this Board. The following amendment to title II, section 4, subsection (f) is recommended for that purpose.

On page 20, line 9, continue with a new sentence: "It is further stipulated that a representative of the Secretary of the Interior shall be a member of the Traffic and Highway Board, and that such representative shall have the same rights, privileges, and prerogatives as all other members of the Board."

The proviso beginning on line 5, page 51, purports to save the ordinary police powers of the signatories and the Director of the National Park Service with respect to the regulation of vehicles, control of traffic, and care of street, highway, and other vehicular facilities. Since police powers” is not a term descriptive of the authority and responsibilities of the Director of the National Park Service, we recommend the following clarifying amendments:

On page 51, lines 8 and 9, delete "and of the Director of the National Park Service”.

On page 51, line 11, after the colon insert Provided further, That nothing in this Act or in the compact shall affect the authority and responsibility of the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to section 3 of the Act of August 25, 1916 (39 Stat. 535), as amended, and other Acts of Congress controlling the development and use of national parks, monuments, and reservations comprising the National Park System.

The enactment of House Joint Resolution 402 is a necessary organizational step to implement the mass transportation plan and to help alleviate the serious problems of traffic and transportation existing in the Washington metropolitan area.

The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,

ROGER ERNST, Assistant Secretary of the Interior.

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,

OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN,

Washington, D.C., February 24, 1960. Hon. EMANUEL CELLER, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR CHAIRMAN CELLER: In response to your letter of July 15, 1959, the Legislative Committee of the Commission on September 16, 1959, submitted to you its comments on House Joint Resolution 402, a joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress for the States of Virginia and Maryland and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact related to the regulation of mass transit in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and for other purposes.

« PreviousContinue »