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TUNNEL UNDER DELAWARE RIVER BETWEEN SOUTH
PHILADELPHIA, PA., AND GLOUCESTER, N. J.
FEBRUARY 12, 1931.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. WOLVERTON of New Jersey, from the Committee on Interstate
and Foreign Commerce, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 1025]
The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1025) granting the consent of Congress to construct, maintain, own, manage, and operate a tunnel or tunnels and approaches thereto under the Delaware River, having considered and amended the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it pass.
Amend the bill as follows:
Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the following in lieu thereof:
That in order to facilitate interstate commerce, improve the postal service, and provide for military and other purposes, Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, be, and is hereby, authorized to construct, 'maintain, and operate a vehicular tunnel or tunnels and approaches thereto under the Delaware River, at a location suitable to the interests of navigation, between South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Gloucester, New Jersey, subject to the conditions and limitations contained in this act: Provided, That work shall not be commenced until the plans therefor have been submitted to and approved by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War: And provided further, That in approving the plans for said tunnel or tunnels such conditions and stipulations may be imposed as the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War may deem necessary to protect the present and future interests of the United States.
SEC. 2. There is hereby conferred upon Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, all such rights and powers to enter upon lands and to acquire, condemn, occupy, possess, and use real estate and other property needed for the location, construction, operation, and maintenance of such tunnel or tunnels and approaches thereto as are possessed by railroad corporations for railroad purposes or by bridge or tunnel corporations for bridge or tunnel purposes in the State in which such real estate or other property is situated, upon making just compensation therefor, to be ascertained and paid according to the laws of such State, and the proceedings therefor shall be the same as in the condemnation or expropriation of property for public purposes in such State.
Sec. 3. The said Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, is hereby authorized to fix and charge tolls for transit through such tunnel or tunnels, and the rates of toll so fixed shall be the legal rates until changed by the Secretary of War.
Sec. 4. After the completion of such tunnel or tunnels, as determined by the Secretary of War, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, jointly with the State of New Jersey, or any public agency or political subdivision of either of such States, within or adjoining which any part of such vehicular tunnel or tunnels is located, or any two or more of them, acting in the place and stead of their respective States, jointly, may at any time acquire and take over all right, title, and interest in such tunnel or tunnels and the approaches thereto, and any interest in real property necessary therefor by purchase or by condemnation or expropriation, in accordance with the laws of either of such States governing the acquisition of private property for public purposes by condemnation or expropriation. If at any time such tunnel or tunnels with approaches thereto is acquired by condemnation or expropriation, the amount of damages or compensation to be allowed shall not include good will, going value, or prospective revenues or profits, but shall include the sum of (1) the actual cost of constructing such tunnel or tunnels with approaches and all property appurtenant thereto, less a reasonable deduction for actual depreciation in value; (2) the actual cost of acquiring such interests in real property; (3) actual financing and promotion costs not in excess of 10 per centum of the sum of the cost of constructing the tunnel or tunnels with approaches and property appurtenant thereto and acquiring such interests in real property; and (4) actual expenditures for necessary alterations, additions, and improvements.
Sec. 5. If such tunnel or tunnels shall at any time be taken over or acquired by the States or public agencies or political subdivisions thereof, as provided in section 4 of this act, and if tolls are thereafter charged for the use thereof, the rates of toll fixed by such States or public agencies or political subdivisions thereof, shall be the legal rates until changed by the Secretary of War, under the authority contained in the act of March 23, 1906.
Sec. 6. Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, shall, within ninety days after the completion of such tunnel or tunnels, file with the Secretary of War and with the highway departments of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey a sworn itemized statement showing the actual original cost of constructing the tunnel or tunnels with approaches thereto, the actual cost of acquiring any interest in real property necessary therefor, and the actual financing and promotion costs. The Secretary of War may, and upon request of the highway department of either of such States shall, at any time within three years after the completion of such tunnel or tunnels, investigate such costs and determine the accuracy and the reasonableness of the costs alleged in the statement of costs so filed, and shall make a finding of the actual and reasonable costs of constructing, financing, and promoting such tunnel or tunnels; for the purpose of such investigation the said Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, shall make available all of his records in connection with the construction, financing, and promotion thereof. The findings of the Secretary of War as to the reasonable costs of the construction, financing, and promotion of the tunnel or tunnels shall be conclusive for the purposes mentioned in section 4 of this act, subject only to review in a court of equity for fraud or gross mistake.
SEC. 7. The right to sell, assign, transfer, and mortgage all the rights, powers, and privileges conferred by this act is hereby granted to Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, and any corporation to which or any person to whom such rights, powers, and privileges may be sold, assigned, or transferred, or who shall acquire the same by mortgage foreclosure or otherwise, is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise the same as fully as though conferred herein directly upon such corporation or person.
Sec. 8. The authority granted by this act shall cease and be null and void unless the actual construction of the tunnel or tunnels hereby authorized ie commenced within two years and completed within five years from the date of approval of this act.
Sec. 9. The right to alter, amend, or repeal this act is hereby expressly reserved. Amend the title to read as follows:
Authorizing Russell Thayer, his heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, to construct, maintain, and operate a vehicular tunnel or tunnels under the Delaware River between South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Gloucester, New Jersey.
The bill has the approval of the War and Navy Departments, will appear by the letters attached.
War DEPARTMENT, August 15, 1929. Respectfully returned to the chairman committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives.
So far as the interests committed to this department are concerned, I know of no objection to the favorable consideration of the accompanying bill (H. R. 1025, 71st Cong., 1st sess.) granting the consent of Congress to Russell Thayer to construct a tunnel or tunnels and approaches thereto under the Delaware River, if amended as indicated thereon.
Attention is invited to the fact that the consent of Congress for the construction of tunnels under navigable waters of the United States is not necessary. Under the provisions of section 10 of the river and harbor act of March 3, 1899, such structure may be erected upon approval of plans therefor by the Chief Engineers and the Secretary of War.
JAMES W. Good, Secretary of War.
Washington, October 10, 1929. The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Replying further to the Committee's letter of June 26, 1929, transmitting the bill (H. Ř. 1025) “granting the consent of Congress to construct, maintain, own, manage, and operate a tunnel or tunnels and approaches thereto under the Delaware River, and requesting a report thereon by the Navy Department, I have the honor to advise you as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to provide that the consent of Congress be granted to construct, maintain, own, manage, and operate a tunnel or tunnels and approaches thereto under the Delaware River.
It is understood that the tunnel proposed in this bill is to be located approximately 1/4 miles up the river from the Navy Yard, League Island, Philadelphia. It is further understood that the clearances above the top of the tube at mean low water will be as follows:
Feet At center of channel.
70 At edge of channel..
In view of these facts, the Navy Department has no objection to the project, if constructed under such conditions.
The bill H. R. 1025 is similar in language to the bill H. R. 17099 introduced in the Seventieth Congress. Sincerely yours,
C. F. Adams, Secretary of the Navy.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D. C., September 12, 1929. Hon. JAMES S. PARKER, Chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatires. DEAR MR. PARKER: Receipt is acknowledged of letter of June 26 from Mr. Elton J. Layton, clerk, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, with which was transmitted a copy of H. R. 1025 with request for a report thereon and such views relative thereto as the department might desire to communicate.
This bill is identical with H. R. 17099 introduced in the Seventieth Congress, first session, and reported upon by this department by communication to your committee bearing date of February 21, 1929. The department's views as expressed in the report upon the previous bill apply with equal force to the bill now pending before the committee. Sincerely,
R. W. DUNLAP, Acting Secretary.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D. C., February 21, 1929. Hon. JAMES S. PARKER, Chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. PARKER: Careful consideration has been given to the bill H. R. 17099, transmitted with your letter of February 15, with request for a report thereon and such views relative thereto as the department might desire to communicate.
This bill would authorize Russell Thayer to construct, maintain, and operate a tunnel or tunnels with necessary approaches thereto under the Delaware River, between the city of Gloucester, Camden County, State of New Jersey, and South Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania. It would confer upon Mr. Thayer the power to assign his rights to the General Motorways Co., a corporation in process of formation under the laws of Pennsylvania or to its successors and assigns. It also would confer the right to exercise the power of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring real estate necessary in connection with such tunnel or tunnels with the right also to charge tolls for travel over or through the same. vision is contained in the bill for regulation of the tolls which may be charged or for acquisition of the tunnel or tunnels which might be constructed thereunder by the interested States, or their subdivisions, and an examination of the act of March 3, 1899, to which reference is made in section 1 of the bill, discloses that no authority is contained therein for the regulation of tolls or under which the interested States or their subdivisions might acquire the tunnel or tunnels to be constructed. It appears, therefore, that Mr. Thayer, or the proposed General Motorways Co., would be empowered by the bill to charge tolls without limit and with no provision for regulating same in so far as applicable Federal statutes are concerned.
Furthermore, the department is strongly of the opinion that authority of the kind proposed should not be granted to a private concern. Such a structure as that proposed could have no utility whatever and consequently would be of little or no value unless it should connect with the public streets or highways built and maintained by the public for general use. The construction of the proposed tunnel or tunnels, undoubtedly, has been conceived with the idea of imposing a system of tolls on the public with the view of deriving private gain therefrom. Authorization of structures of the kind here proposed would seem to constitute a very definite step in the direction of sceking authorizations for a revival of the old system of toll roads which long since has been discarded in this country. The department, therefore, would recommend against favorable action on the bill. Sincerely,
R. W. DUNLAP, Acting Secretary.