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progress in building their towns and cities along the river, and in the valley; but Red River Valley never can attain its potential possibilities without water navigation, and this canal will make that complete development a reality and give our national economy the benefit of this great natural water resource at one and the same time.
The people up and down the valley are in thorough accord about this canal project. The State of Louisiana will make the local contribution by providing the necessary rights-of-way. The money for that purpose is on hand; we are ready to do our part now toward building this improvement.
The greatest argument in favor of this canal project is the fact that it will benefit such a vast number of people, not only in Louisiana, it will also be a most valuable asset to the United States, because it will amortize itself and will injure no other form o transp) tation.
This canal will induce tonnage that does not today exist, and will never exist without low-cost water transportation. This canal will bring about an industrial development of this wonderful Red River Valley that will greatly benefit present carriers of freight, as has been the case where similar developments have been made.
It is my opinion that no one will benefit more from the industrial development that is sure to follow the construction of this canal than the railroads and truck lines that are presently located in the valley; that industrialization will develop an enormous amount of freight tonnage in classifications that would never be shipped in any other manner except over railroads and by truck lines.
There is another item of no little importance that will be improved by the building of this canal project, that is national defense.
During wartime this canal would serve the Nation extremely well, like the inland waterways did during the recent World War. There is no need for calling your attention to the strain that prevailed upon all forms of transportation during the war, and I am sure you are all familiar with the important part the inland waterways played when every ton was vital to our war effort.
This canal project bisects the Louisiana-east Texas military maneuver area which played such an important part in preparing our armies for service all over the world in War II. The efficiency of this great military maneuver area will be much improved and increased by building this canal, because of the vast amount of war material that of necessity must be transported in and out during training periods. I believe all will agree that we do not serve our country well, where we overlook any item that will improve national defense.
I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to present this statement, and again urge your favorable report on this canal project; respectfully submitted.
Senator OVERTON. Mr. Harris, were you present when we had the hearings before?
Mr. HARRIS. Yes, sir; on January 14.
Senator OVERTON. Were any directors of railroads present at the hearing?
Mr. HARRIS. There was a director from the L. & A., Kansas City Southern, Mr. Ewing, of Shreveport. He testified in favor of the project.
Senator OVERTON. I think there was also another railroad director there.
Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Ewing is director of the Kansas City Southern. Senator OVERTON, Will you state who Mr. Ewing is, for the record? Mr. HARRIS. Well, I
Representative BROOKS. Mr. Ewing is editor of the Shreveport Times and the owner of KWKH, a 50,000-watt radio station, and a man who is interested in numerous business affairs in and around the Shreveport area. He is a director, and has been for a number of years, of the Kansas City Southern Railway. He has been very active in favor of this project.
Senator OVERTON. And he appeared in person before the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors ?
Mr. BROOKS. He made a special trip all the way from Shreveport, which is almost 1,500 miles here, to appear for that sole purpose.
Senator OVERTON. I think he also in addition guaranteed, did he not, that there would be barge lines that would operate on the canal as soon as it was completed, and he would aid in financing it?
Representative BROOKS. I think so, sir. Mr. Harry Jackson was here representing the industries, of the State, and he was a director of a large bus and motor transportation line.
In fact, he was manager at that time, as I recall, of the largest bus and automobile transportation system in that section of the country.
Senator OVERTON. He advocated the construction of this
Representative BROOKS. He thought the construction of this project would help his business considerably in expansion. Mr. Walter Jacobs was also here. Mr. Jacobs is the managing director and officer of the First National Bank of Shreveport-or president of the First National Bank of Shreveport. He is interested in any number of businesses in that section of the country, and he felt that the development of this waterway would help his businesses considerably. Also, Mr. Justin Querbes.
Senator OVERTON. Who is Mr. Justin Querbes?
Representative BROOKS. He is also director of the First National Bank. He owns a very large insurance business there. He owns an interest in a large steel fabricating company and he owns an interest in other companies that feel the need of water transportation. Although his business interests are very pressing, he made this special trip up here for the purpose of showing his interest in the canal development.
Senator OVERTON. Now, Mr. Brooks, you testified, did you not, not only before the Board, but also before the House Committee on this project?
Representative ROOKS. Oh, yes.
STATEMENT OF HON. OVERTON BROOKS, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS REPRESENTING THE FOURTH DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
Representative BROOKS. Well, I would like to say this again, Mr. Chairman, that our people are almost 100 percent in favor of the project. I have served 10 years on the Military Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives and I have always felt that the development of waterways is essential to a well-balanced defense program for the country.
This waterway will take itself into the very heart of the Red River Valley, a valley that at the present time is not penetrated by any waterways at all.
Senator OVERTON. That is, navigable waterways.
Representative BROOKS. Navigable waterways. Industries are located there that no doubt are in their inception. Other industries are there that are very important for the proper defense of the country. Petroleum has been mentioned. Lumber is another one which I don't think has been given a proper place, because it is one of the large industries of that area.
Senator OVERTON. There are big pulp mills.
Representative BROOKS. Great pulp mills are located in any number of places.
Senator ÖVERTON. A tremendous number of these mills, big and small.
Representative BROOKS. Almost every little village has its sawmill. The lumber industry has its headquarters in the South in the city of Shreveport.
Senator OVERTON. Mr. Odom, chief State engineer, said he didn't give any consideration to it because he was not satisfied that very much lumber would be transported by barge, either logs or manufactured products, as I understand it. He may be correct, but I was rather surprised at his statement.
Representative BROOKS. It would seem to me in that case that he has made no effort to take over all forms of transportation because here is one of the major industries of that area that is not even touched by his report.
Senator OVERTON. It seems to me there would be considerable tonnage from the logging and milling operations and transportation of the manufactured lumber as well as the pulpwood and some pulp products too.
Representative BROOKS. Pulpwood and pulp products constitute a major item of freight at the present time there. There is one large pulp mill at Spring Hill which is located about 60 miles from Shreveport. There is one located at Marshall about the same distance over in east Texas, about 55 miles away. They are all over the countryside.
Senator OVERTON. Very well; you may proceed.
Representative BROOKS. In times of stress like the one we have just gone through in the war, this additional means of transportation is very important to the whole country. We had to, in the middle of the war, build additional means of transportation in order to get products up here on the Atlantic seaboard, in order to keep our war effort going. If we had had water transportation at that time our problem would have been solved before the war began.
This is not a new form of transportation, but it is bringing back to the section a form of transportation which it had in existence a number of years ago, but due to the process of development there it has not been maintained.
Senator OVERTON. Shreveport started as a river town; isn't that true?
Representative BROOKS. The very name of the city implies it was a port. Captain Shreve, who, by the way, was an Army engineer, prior to the Civil War, about the year 1836, as I recall, named the place Shreveport for himself. It was because he came up the river in a boat and Shreve's Landing was the original name of the city of Shreveport. For a while commerce on the river was its sole means of contact with the rest of the country. Through the years toward the Civil War it was a means of transportation.
In the Civil War itself the Red River was used extensively as an artery of commerce. The Confederate forces in the South relied on that means of communication to get its commodities, its freight, into the East. They came down the Red River and they crossed the Mississippi somewhere in the vicinity of Natchez and traveled overland up to the Virginia and Tennessee areas. That was the importance, as I understand, of the Vicksburg campaign, to cut the Confederacy in two.
I might add this, too: That General Vance in the Civil War, when his army entered the Red River Valley, brought a fleet of gunboats up the Red River to a place very close to what is Mansfield, La., and those gunboats were used to support his army.
So I say water transportation in this section of the Southwest is vitally important there. Strange to say, all of our people realize it. I have gone through the area and everybody, the little businessman and the little farmer, realizes the importance of it, realizes it is going to put Red River Valley in close proximity with the rest of the country through transportation.
Senator OVERTON. Thank you, very much, Congressman Brooks. Does anybody else wish to appear in support of the program?
Mr. HARRIS. There has been considerable said by the railroad representatives during these discussions about subsidies, waterway and transportation subsidies. I wish to call your attention to the fact that the Texas & Pacific Railway Co. and the Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. are both Government subsidized or formerly were subsidized by the United States Government. They were both Federal land-grant railroads, and it seems to me they are just a little bit out of line when they come up here and talk about subsidizing this waterway.
Senator OVERTON. They got every odd section, I think, 20 miles on each side of the railroad.
Mr. HARRIS. They still have what is known as the Texas Land Co., or something of that sort. I don't know whether they ever got rid of all that land or not, but it was a big thing, all that vast virgin timber and oil area.
Then the Union Pacific Railroad was built by the Government to a great extent.
Senator OVERTON. And in addition to that is it not true that the Texas & Pacific and the Missouri Pacific are aided by local taxation, at least on some of their branches? I don't know whether the main lines were aided by local taxation, but I know in my native parish, before we could get the main line of the Texas & Pacific to Mansfield, La., where I was born and reared, we had to vote parishwide taxes. I have forgotten the millage, it was considerable millage, and they took that money, enough to build a railroad with.
Mr. HARRIS. I would be the last one in the world to want to see the railroads injured in the Red River Valley, due to the fact they are big taxpayers and they are a big asset to our community, but it is my honest belief that the development of the Red River Valley that will follow this building of this navigation canal will not only benefit the railroads, it will benefit everybody in the valley, railroads included.
I am sure that the railroads will not like to see the water transportation withdrawn from Houston, Tex., or Lake Charles, either one. Good water navigation makes more business for the railroads.
Alexandria and Shreveport are big distributing points. There will be shipments brought into those places which will be broken up and will have to be distributed throughout the entire territory on the railroads, and they will get that business.
There was some mention a while ago about the Standard Oil Co. here
Senator OVERTON. Before you leave that, Alexamdria and Shreveport are two of the largest cities in central north Louisiana?
Mr. HARRIS. That is right.
Senator OVERTON. And they came into being as river ports, or towns, did they not?
Mr. HARRIS. That is correct.
Senator OVERTON. And the railroads found them there and so they built their lines of railroad into Shreveport, and they built into Alexandria. Alexandria today is quite a railroad center. They have five trunk-line railroads.
Mr. HARRIS. Five trunk-line railroads and we have trunk-line highways and pipe lines, but we still need this water transportation. We have distributors of petroleum products in the Gulf Refining Co., the Texas Co., the Sinclair Refining Co., the Shell Petroleum Co., the Pan-American Petroleum Co., the Cities Service Co., and the Magnolia Petroleum Co. in Alexandria. All up and down they distribute their products.
The railroads haul those products at the present time. Not only the Standard Oil Co. will benefit.
Of course, somebody said they would not pass on their profits. Well, competition makes them pass on the profit, when freight rates are reduced or the cost of transportation is reduced. The public immediately benefits.
Anyhow, we are dealing with the whole United States of America and not just a local proposition. Anything that saves the country money saves the entire United States that money. It is not a local benefit.
Representative BROOKS. Mr. Chairman, may I call your attention to the fact that one of the railroads down there, the B. S. & T., to my knowledge, received every odd section on each side of the road for, I think, 4 or 5 miles, as an inducement to build into that area. Later on they conveyed that property to the land companies. It is part of the Illinois Central system now.
Senator OVERTON. Well, of course, we all favor the railroads but we don't want them to run our water-borne commerce. We build highways at a cost to the taxpayers that are utilized by trucking and transportation companies, and used by the public generally. We are building at Federal cost, or at least a large contribution made by the Federal Government, airports throughout the United States, because that is about the only way to handle propositions of that kind. Then the air is free to use, under certain regulations by a regulating body, by those who desire to engage in aerial transportation, and the only way-the problem of water-borne transportation is for the Congress of the United States and improvement of waterways, to let them remain open to the public under certain regulations by regulatory bodies.