Page images

Texas: Less 1 percent deduction allowed distributors (Title 122, ch. 1.5, art. 7057.63).

Vermont: To carry out the purposes of the Aeronautics Act of 1945, there is appropriated from the proceeds of the tax on gasoline used in aircraft for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1948, $19,000 and for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1949, $18,000.

Virginia: Full refund is granted to interstate operators of aircraft. Intrastate consumption and gasoline used for that part of intrastate trips which flight logs show to have been within Virginia will qualify only for a 2 cents per gallon refund (Laws 1942, ch. 206; Code 1942, sec. 2154 (215)). Tax-exempt sales to aircraft may be made at the Washington National Airport.

Washington: Aviation gasoline for use exclusively in airplanes, delivered in bulk (excluding barrel and package deliveries) to aviation gasoline dealers and/or users, is tax-exempt if such dealer or user holds a valid permit to purchase aviation gasoline ex tax (sec. 8327–18 2d par.). Refund granted for nonhighway use if permit is obtained and statutory conditions are complied with (1945 Supp. Řem. Rev. Stats., sec. 8327–18).

West Virginia: Refunds granted if application is filed within 60 days on purchases of 25 or more gallons used in aircraft (Laws 1939, ch. 125; Code 1943, sec. 995).

Wyoming: On purchases of 10,000 or more gallons per month for use in aircraft, the city, town, or country where the airport is located is required to refund 2 cents of the 4 cents per gallon gasoline tax; unrefunded 2 cents is to be used for maintenance of such airfields (Laws 1935. ch. 72, sec. 7 Code Supp. 1940, sec. 115–1108).

Mr. MILLER. I want to make a difference between the airport that provides the facilities for the fueling of planes and offers nothing for what they charge and simply wants to charge you for the privilege of doing business. I am talking about the airport that puts in equipment and has personnel to do the work and that kind of service.

Mr. BERMINGHAM. I realize that.

Mr. MILLER. If you want to go on an airport and service a plane that is landing in there, I do not care whether it is 100 gallons or 1,000 gallons, I would not advocate that you be charged a fee for servicing that plane. If you want to bring your truck down from your own base and fuel up a plane that is in there, that is something else. I am having in mind the airport that goes to considerable expense in both equipment and personnel, and I think that they have got to have some compensation for the equipment they put in.

Mr. BERMINGHAM. I think so, too.
Mr. MILLER. The trucks might be a hazard to safety.

Mr. BERMINGHAM. I realize the distinction that you are making, and on your type of situation my objection is that it keeps other companies out of business on your airport, and that is what we do not like about it. Mr. MILLER. None of us like it when the competition gets away

I happen to be in the insurance business. Say the city of Boston insures its employees with insurance company Y, and insurance company W is out, and there are certain benefits given to the employees.

Mr. BERMINGHAM. But in buying insurance you had the opportunity of selecting between company Y and company W.

Mr. MILLER. In the case I cite, the city has given you that opportunity to bid and gives it to you frequently, with assurance that it will come up later.

Mr. BERMINGHAM. I realize that, but you are at the same time depriviny the air lines that use your field of the opportunity of buying in a competitive market.

Mr. MILLER. I grant you that.
Mr. DOLLIVER. Are there further questions?
We thank you, Mr. Bermingham.

Mr. DOLLIVER. In accordance with congressional courtesy, we now call on Representative Regan, of Texas. We are glad to welcome Representative Regan here.

from us.



Mr. REGAN. I am Ken Regan, from the sixteenth District of Texas, including the city of El Paso.

I received this morning a letter from the city attorney of El Paso, protesting the passage of this bill

, 6180, and giving his reasons therefor. I have been very interested in listening to the testimony of Mr. Ramspeck and the questions asked. I had no prepared statement, and I did not come prepared to ask or answer a number of questions, but this was brought out, and I think it is worthy of the consideration of the committee, if they have not already considered it, that of the 600 airports operating in the United States, a few of them are showing a profit.

These airports represent the investment of many millions, and as we all get in the habit of saying here in Washington, billions of dollars. I should say it runs considerably over $1,000,000,000 that has been invested, largely by municipalities with some aid from the States.

We are all interested, of course, in furthering aviation in every way we can, and I am particularly so. I served in the aviation sectors of the Army in both World Wars I and II. We certainly cannot subsidize the air lines entirely in all things. These municipalities, and I speak more particularly of El Paso than the other because that is the one I am more familiar with, and more I am charged with the responsibility of protecting, they have recently completed a very fine station at the request and for the service of the patrons of the various air lines entering and leaving El Paso. That station represents the investment of, I would say, considerably more than half a million dollars, the station itself, including the lunch rooms and rest-room facilities and shower baths, the runways and the highways leading thereto and the apron around the spot for the parking of cars and all of the general conveniences given to the traveling public. They have made various concessions to the suppliers of gasoline. I travel considerably by air, and I have noticed in most of these airports that there is not a monopoly of one

concern serving gasoline, and you will see in some ports the Gulf and Pure Oil Co's. trucks, and others, the Texas Co. and Sinclair and some local concern, Sunoco and Socony and so forth.

I am not impressed with the monopoly, but these airports are trying to give and render a service to the air lines and to their patrons. If the bars were let down by the airport and they said the air lines might all be buying from various and sundry suppliers, some of whom are reputable and some for the matter of advertising and so forth, to to say they are furnishing gasoline to the X air line, “Ours is an aviation gasoline," and so forth, we would have various and sundry trucks in all of the airports, some with responsibility and some with not.

Now, these municipal stations have provided facilities for the servicing of these planes at a considerable cost. They go into the market with the various suppliers and get the best bid they can on the best type of gasoline that is required by the air lines for their service, and I think that they are rendering a service that is worthy of some small charge, through which the municipalities may get some return on their tremendous investment and pay off some of the bonded debt that they voted to build these fine facilities around the country.

Now, if I may, I would like to read this letter of the attorney of El Paso about his objections and why. It is a little more in detail than has been brought out here. I think that he sees some things in the bill that I do not believe are in the bill, but here is his letter, by air mail, dated the 14th, last Friday:

I have been informed that a hearing is to be held on May 17 before the House Committee on Interstate Commerce on bill H. R. 6180.

The purpose of the above entitled bill is to amend section 11 of the Federal Airport Act to such an extent that when Federal aid is received by any airport, that all scheduled air lines shall have the right to obtain and receive personal property of any nature from any person it may select without payment by said air carrier of any fees, charges, rentals, or payments of any kind, or taxes on or for the sale, purchase, use, storage, dispensing, distribution, delivery of, or any similar activity with respect to such property, except such charges as represent fair and reasonable compensation for the cost of any service rendered in connection therewith.

In my opinion, the effect of this bill, if it becomes law, would be to deprive all publicly owned airports from making any profit on the sale of gasoline, lubricating oils, accessories or other services and would affect many contracts which are now in existence between publicly owned airports and various concessionaires.

The air lines of the United States are notorious for the unfair contracts which they have made in the cities all over the country, and in my opinion, there aren't 5 percent of the publicly owned airports that are making a profit from the operation of their airports, and should the Federal Government ever withdraw Federal aid for airports, it would be impossible for many cities to operate and maintain the airports which they now own.

I earnestly solicit your support in opposing the above entitled bill or any other bill that will interfere with the operation of publicly owned airports of cities, counties, and other public agencies. With kind personal regards, Very truly yours,

R. F. MOMSEN, Chairman, City Airport Board.

That, members of the committee, is the protest of the city of El Paso and the chairman of the board on aviation. I do think that all those using thar airport, the air lines, are getting service well worth the small charge that the airports make, and I hope that this committee will not look with favor on the pending bill.

Thank you very much for your courtesy.

Mr. BECKWORTH. In some instances, doubtless they took into consideration in bidding the amount of money they would derive from a given source in order to help to pay for the airport; is not that true?

Mr. REGAN. I so understand it.

Mr. BECKWORTH. And it would be your opinion, certainly, in some of those instances the people who had planned to pay for an airport might find themselves in a mighty serious situation if that plan they have heretofore made is interrupted by this kind of legislation?

Mr. REGAN. Particularly when they voted bonds and set up interest charges and retirement of those bonds on the theory that they would derive certain reasonable fees from the service they were rendering.

Mr. BECKWORTH. As one of the members from Texas, I want to personally thank Mr. Regan for coming here and presenting the viewpoint he has with reference to a Texas city, El Paso.

Mr. DOLLIVER. Are there any other questions?

The Committee will stand in recess until 3 o'clock after the introductior of these three statements: Statement of the Honorable Frank Buchanan, a letter directed to Ed H. Rees from the Acting Director of the Board of Park Commissioners of the city of Wichita, Kans.; letter from Louis E. Grashot, Commissioner of Finances and Institutions, directed to Hon. Charles Woverton, chairman, and the letter is from Memphis, Tern.


TEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE RELATIVE TO H. R. 6180. Pursuant to a request from the Board of County Commissioners of Allegheny County, I wish to state:

This proposed legislation, if enacted into law, will seriously and adversely affect the orderly and efficient operation of Allegheny County airports in that it will impose unfair restrictions upon the county in the control of essential airport activities and facilities. It is our considered opinion that the effect of such legislation would discriminate against the public interest for the benefit of a few air lines operators. While the county is most anxious that the air lines prosper, nevertheless, this proposed legislation is an unwarranted attempt by the air lines to interfere with those airport activities which are properly within the control and jurisdiction of the public authorities operating the airports.

This proposed legislation will, if enacted into law, deprive the public authorities of their control over the delivery, storage and dispensing facilities for petroleum products used by the air lines on airport property and interfere with control of dispensing of food and beverages at the airports.

I wish to go on record in opposition to this legislation and sincerely request the committee to give due consideration to the above request of the Commissioners of Allegheny County, Pa.



May 15, 1948. Hon. ED. H. REES,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN REES: It has been called to our attention that there will be a hearing on H. R. 6180 before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce Monday, May 17, 1948, at 10 a. m.

We are definitely opposed to this bill which will amend the Federal Airport Act for the following reasons:

1. This Board is operating the Wichita Municipal Airport on a self-sustaining basis and has devised rates, charges, and fees in keeping with the cost of operating the airport.

2. Our leases and contracts have been set up to conform with this pattern. It has been our policy to handle all the gasoline sales because it is much more economical to have one crew responsible for the handling of this service and at the same time they can be used as hangar servicemen and auxiliary firemen. (Our gasoline service has been of the highest standard and our customers apparently are satisfied since we have had few complaints.)

3. Because of our gasoline sales, we have been able to make other concessions on the airport where minimum charges and fees are affected. We not only handle the gasoline for the air lines but for all the fixed-base operators, transients, local plane owners, U. S. Government and the Boeing Airplane Co. all of whom have been serviced satisfactorily and economically under this system.

4. Should the Federal Airport Act be amended as provided for in H. R. 6180 this Board would be in a very unfortunate position of changing leases and contracts with operators, air lines and others for the use of the airport where we do not charge ramp fees, loading dock fees, landing fees, etc. Our financial structure, would collapse and it would be necessary to renegotiate most of our leases and contracts so that revenue could be produced through some other means than gasoline sales in order to maintain a self-sustaining airport.

5. This Board has adopted a policy whereby certain charges and fees are assessed against the users of the airport so that the people who use the airport pay for its operation rather than the taxpayers of Wichita.

6. Many airports have restaurant and other concession contracts so written that the rental consideration is based on the operator's gross sales. Airport officials, and the operators, as well generally agree that this type of agreement has proven highly satisfactory to both parties, especially when the percentage is applied against a fixed minimum. This type of agreement would prevent the airport from making improvements with Federal assistance if the proposed amendment were enacted.

7. This bill was apparently initiated by the Air Carriers Association. It should be pointed out that this very point was discussed when the original law was enacted, and was also thoroughly debated when the CAA regulations were formulated. The Air Carriers were heard on both occasions and we see no reason for again reopening the case. In fact, this Board feels that the regulations adopted by CAA already go entirely too far in promulgating Federal control over a municipal operation.

8. If the Federal Airport Act is going to be continually subject to use by individual groups to further their own interests, then its basic purposes will surely be defeated.

9. If this bill were to become law the Federal Government would in effect be saying: Here are Federal funds to help you build and/or develop an airport, but you must take along with it these regulations, which make it impossibie for you to successfully operate that airport after it is constructed.

10. The intention of the Federal Airport Act was to assist public airports and not to subsidize air carriers. H. R. 6180 puts restrictions and limitations on airport management that is prohibitive.

11. Should H. R. 6180 become law it is possible that there would be halt a dozen full crews handling gasoline on the ramp and several restaurant or food concessionaires. This would cause considerable conflicts. We would not be able to place responsibility, there would be many more men and trucks working on the ramp and the over-all service would be costly and inefficient. We do not have facilities or supervision for controlling this type of operation.

We were not aware that H. R. 6180 was being considered until May 13, 1948, and have not had an opportunity to analyze fully the implications of the bill as it would affect the airport. We are convinced, however, that it would be deterimental to not only our airport but to others as well.

We respectfully urge your support in opposing this bill and suggest that more publicity be given on the bill so that cities affected may have an opportunity to study its effect before any action is taken. It is difficult to present our objections through correspondence. Yours very truly,



Memphis, Tenn., May 4, 1948. Hon. CHARLES WOLVERTON, Chairman, House Committee of Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. WOLVERTON. House of Representative's bill No. 6180 to amend the Federal Airport Act, by Representative Leonard W. Hall, has been brought to my attention. Its provisions seem to us to be inimical to the interests of municipal airports coming within the provisions of the Federal Airport Act, to such an extent that we feel justified in vigorously protesting its passage, and in requesting that you assist in the defeat of this amendment.

Municipalities must look forward to the time when airports can be made at least self-sustaining. We attempt to do this by the rental or sale of various premises on the airport, services and privileges, and base the charges, in some cases, on percentages of business done or services sold. There is a disposition in some quarters to claim that any percentage charge made by a municipality on its airport is a tax, when in fact it is a rental.

Although the bill seems in a way, fair on its face, because it permits “such charges, fees, or rentals as represent fair and reasonable compensation for the cost of any service rendered”, and permits “any tax which is imposed by the airport owner or operator upon business organizations generally in the taxing jurisdiction”, the passage of such an act would serve to hamper and handicap all municipalities in their struggle to make ends meet on their airports, and would subject them to

« PreviousContinue »