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EXTENSION OF METROPOLITAN RAILROAD COMPANY
May 11, 1900.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. PEARRE, from the Committee on the District of Columbia, sub
mitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 8665.]
The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 8665) authorizing and requiring the Metropolitan Railroad Company to extend its lines on old Sixteenth street, report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do
with the following amendment:
Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu thereof the following:
That the Metropolitan Railroad Company of the District of Columbia be, and the same is hereby, authorized and required to extend by double tracks the lines of its underground electric railroad from its present terminus at the intersection of Eighteenth street and Columbia road easterly along Columbia road to the present Sixteenth street northwest, thence north along Sixteenth street to Park street: Provided, That no cars shall be switched in the streets after the expiration of two years from the passage of this act.
Sec. 2. That before such extension shall be constructed Columbia road and the present Sixteenth street shall be widened to the width of one hundred feet along the lines of the said railway as extended by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and the said Commissioners shall institute proceedings for the condemnation of so much land as may be required for the said widening, which proceedings shall be instituted in the supreme court of the District of Columbia under and in accordance with the provisions of sections two hundred and fifty-seven to two hundred and sixty-seven, both inclusive, of the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Colunbia: Provided, That the said Commissioners are authorized and empowered to locate the lines of the railroad of said company within the area so to be acquired as aforesaid: And provided further, That the operation of the cars of the Metropolitan Railroad within the Capitol grounds shall be under the control of the Architect of the Capitol.
SEC. 3. That the extensions of the lines of the Metropolitan Railroad Company herein provided for shaH be completed and put in operation within one year from the date of the widening of said highways as herein provided, and said company shall deposit with the collector of taxes of the District of Columbia such sums as are necessary to pay the cost of inspection of said work.
SEC. 4. That of the amount found due and awarded as damages for and in respect of the land condemned for the extension of Columbia road and the present Sixteenth street, as in this act provided, not less than one-half thereof shall be assessed by the jury in said proceedings against the Metropolitan Street Railroad Company and collected as special assessments are collected, and the remainder of said damages shall be assessed against all those pieces and parcels of ground situated and lying on each side of those portions of Columbia road and Sixteenth street northwest that are to be widenedl, and extending to a depth of two hundred and fifty feet, measured on each side from the building lines of said highways as widened; and in case the jury should find that the damages so assessed against the said property exceed the benefits aceruing to the same by reason of the widening of said street, then this proceeding shall fail and this act shall be null and void: Provided, That if the use of a part only of any piece or parcel of ground shall be condemned, the jury in determining its value shall not take into consideration any benefits that may accrue to the remainder thereof from the widening of said streets, but such benefits shall be considered in determining what assessments shall be made on or against such part of such piece or parcel of land as may not be taken as hereinbefore provided.
SEC. 5. That when confirmed by said court the assessments on lands as aforesaid shall severally be a lien on the land assessed, and shall be collected as special improvement taxes in the District of Columbia, and shall be payable in four equal annual installments with interest at the rate of 4 per centum per annum until paid: Provided, That payment of the sum or sums of money adjudged to be due and payable for lands taken under the provisions of this act shall be made by the Treasurer of the United States, ex officio commissioner of the sinking fund of the District of Columbia, upon the warrant of said Commissioners, out of the revenues of the District of Columbia; and a sufficient sum to pay such judgments and awards is hereby appropriated out of the revenues of the District.
Sec. 6. That no appeal by any interested party from the decision of the supreme court of the District of Columbia confirming the assessment or assessments for benefits or damages herein provided for, nor any other proceedings at law or in equity by such party against the confirmation of such assessment or assessments, shall delay or prevent the payment of the award to others in respect to the property condemned nor the widening of such streets: Provided, however, That upon the final determination of said appeal or other proceeding at law or in equity the amount found to be due and payable as damages sustained by reason of the widening of the streets under the provisions hereof shall be paid as herein before provided. SEC. 7. That Congress reserves the right to alter, amend, or repeal this act.
The lines of the Metropolitan Company now stop at the corner of Eighteenth street and Columbia road. Columbia road is built up beyond this point. Old Sixteenth street is fast being built up, and at the north end of the latter street there is now a large settlement of substantial houses, whose occupants have been pressing for an extension of street railways to accommodate the traffic. The demand is one which should be met at the earliest possible date.
The bill provides for widening Columbia road to make it conform to the width of that part of the thoroughfare now occupied by the street railroad, and also for widening old Sixteenth street. One-half of the cost of such widening is to be paid by the railroad and the remainder by the property abutting on the street. But in case the jury finds the benefits to such property are not equal to one-half the damages, then this proceeding shall fail and the act be void.
The letter of the Commissioners on this subject is incorporated as a part of this report.
OFFICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, March 17, 1900. DEAR SIR: The Commissioners have the honor to submit the following upon House bill 8665, first session of the Fifty-sixth Congress, “Authorizing and requiring the Metropolitan Railroad to extend its lines on old Sixteenth street," which was referred to them by your committee for report.
A map is inclosed showing the proposed extension of the railroad in red line. The Commissioners believe that the proposed extension is very desirable, but they would invite attention to certain changes and amendments which they believe should be made in the bill before its passage.
Strike out all of the proviso in lines 9 to 11, page 1, from the word “That” in line 9 to the word “no” in line 11.
The portion which it is recommended be stricken out provides that no tracks shall be laid on the Sixteenth street laid out according to the highway plans. The Commissioners are doubtful as to the necessity for this provision. To accomplish that result if would be necessary that the widening proposed in this bill of old Sixteenth street be made entirely on the west side of the street, and while this might be accomplished with ease at the south end of the street, the effect at the north end would be to remove the small triangular space at Seventeenth, Grant, and Sixteenth streets, which was dedicated to the District by the late II. D. Walbridge. Without this provision, the projection of the railroad within the curh lines of new Sixteenth street would necessarily be small, and, it is believed, would be in the street but little more than if the street-car track went directly across Sixteenth street, and the matter can be taken into consideration when the plans are laid before the Commissioners prior to the construction or the road.
Add at the end of the word "streets,” in page 1, line 12, the words “after the expiration of two years from the date of the passage of this act.”
This section of the District is a growing one, and will develop quite rapidly after the extension of the street-car line herein proposed. Under these circumstances it is believed that any terminal arrangements at the north end of the extension must be more or less temporary, and to compel the company to put in an expensive terminal arrangement of underground construction now would probably only require it to go to an additional expense in a short time to obtain the terminal facilities demanded by the growth of the locality.
Strike out all of line 14, page 1, after the word "road,” and all of line 1, page 2, and all of line 2, page 2, to the word “along,” and insert in lieu thereof the following; "and the present Sixteenth street shall be widened to such width, not less than 80 feet, as the Commissioners of said District may consider most advisable." It is doubtful if a width of 100 feet on Columbia road is necessary, and a narrower width could be obtained at much less cost. It is believed that the widths of these highways should be left in the discretion of the Commissioners.
Strike out the words “and in,” at the end of line 11, page 2, and all of lines 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 of page 2.
The wording in these lines provides that the jury shall deduct benefits arising from the widening of the bighways and the location of the railroad before making their awards for the value of the land taken. It is not believed that the benefits arising from a location of a railroad in a street is a matter which could be provided for by assessments against abutting property; and, further, the benefits arising from the widening of the highways is directed by section 4 of the bill to be assessed against the abutting property.
Add at the end of section 3 the following: “and said company shall from time to time deposit with the collector of taxes of the District of Columbia such sums as are necessary to pay the cost of inspection of said work."
Insert after the word “widened," in line 13, page 3, of the bill, the words “or to such greater depth as said jury may find the benefits to extend.”
Add at the end of section 4 the following:
“Provided, That if the use of a part only of any piece or parcel of ground shall be condemned, the jury in determining its value shall not take into consideration any benefits that may accrue to the remainder thereof from the widening of said highways, but such benefits shall be considered in determining what assessments shall be made on or against such part of such piece or parcel of land as may not be taken as herein before provided.”
Strike out the words “Commissioners of the District of Columbia," in lines 16 and 17, page 3, of the bill, and insert in lieu thereof the words “said court." Change section 6 of the bill to section 7, and insert the following as section 6:
“Sec. 6. That no appeal by any interested party from the decision of the supreme court of the District of Columbia confirming the assessment or assessments for benefits or damages herein provided for, nor any other proceeding at law or in equity by such party against the confirmation of such assessment or assessments, shall delay or prevent the payment of the award to others in respect to the property condemned nor the widening of such streets: Provided, however, That upon the final determination of said appeal or other proceeding at law or in equity the amount found to be due and payable as damages sustained by reason of the widening of the street under the provisions hereof shall be paid as herein before provided.”
A substitute bill embodying the above amendments is inclosed herewith, and the Commissioners would recommend that the bill be passed in that shape. Very respectfully,
John B. WIGHT, President Board of Commissioners District of Columbia. Hon. J. W. BABCOCK,
Chairman Committee on the District of Columbia, House of Representatives.