« PreviousContinue »
Mr. DOWELL. May I ask you a question or two, Mr. Markham?
Mr. DOWELL. Have you in your record the amount that has been expended by each State for the maintenance of these highways?
Mr. MARKHAM. No; I do not. I can get it, but I do not have it with me. I will furnish it to the committee.
Mr. DOWELL. Is there any record of that in the department here that you know of?
Mr. MARKHAM. I do not know.
Mr. SUMMERS. I understood you to say that you had one table showing how $75,000,000 would meet the situation.
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes, I have a table worked out on $100,000,000, $75,000,000, and $50,000,000, but I did not bring them all with me.
Mr. SUMMERS. I would like to have a copy.of it.
Mr. MARKHAM. No; I do not have it here to-day. The Bureau of Public Roads may have it.
Mr. DOWELL. Can you put in the record a statement as to that?
Mr. DoWELL. Yes; or, for that matter, since these appropriations have been made by the Government for Federal aid for roads.
Now, may I ask one other question? What kind of roads, if you can explain to the committee, are participated in by this Federal aid ?
Mr. MARKHAM. What kind of roads?
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes; the States get money for earth roads, and for gravel roads, sand-clay roads, macadam, bituminous macadam, concrete, and brick. I am not familiar with all of these names.
Mr. DoWELL. I want to get into the record, if I can, the different types of roads appropriated for.
Mr. MARKHAM. I wish that some of the engineers would give that to you. They know more amout the names of those roads.
Mr. DoWELL. Yes; I suppose that the director would be more familiar with it.
Mr. MARKHAM. I am certain that he would. I only know in a general way. I know what they have done in my State. We have had some Federal aid in the western part of the State in dirt roads, in what we call the desert country, in earth-road construction with the proviso
Mr. DOWELL (interposing). The earth construction is grading?
Mr. MARKHAM. It provides that at the proper time, when the conditions warrant surfacing, that those conditions are to be met, just as the law provides that the Secretary of Agriculture has control over the width, type, construction, traffic matters, taking into consideration conditions of the soil, etc.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to get your individual opinion in connection with the so-called good roads. Could there be such construction as to avoid the use of chains? Would that not be a great step forward if the road could be made rough enough to avoid the use of chains, and still a fairly smooth road?
Mr. MARKHAM. I do not know about that.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think that chains are responsible for about 50 per cent of the wear on a road?
Mr. MARKHAM. Now, I am not an expert on that. The bureau has taken all of that into consideration and they have experts as to that.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the Bureau of Roads here in Washington ?
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes, sir. That question has been given considerable investigation. On the earth roads, when they are wet, big oil tanks going out to deliver oil and gasoline do great damage to the roads.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean chains to prevent a skid.
The CHAIRMAN. Some of these roads get so slick when it begins to rain a little that they put on chains.
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, if it were a practicable proposition to develop a road so that they would not need chains, they could keep the roads in very much better condition.
Mr. MARKHAM. It might be that if the roads were made rough to prevent skidding that they would wear out the tires to such an extent that the saving on the road would be more than offset by the wear and the tear on the tires.
Mr. WARD. I was under the impression, evidently gained from the President's speech-I mean his first speech to the Congress—that the Federal Government prescribed the quality and the material of the roads as an essential to its contribution, and I did not know that the Government would allow the building of a mud road. It seems that it will, which is the cause, evidently, of your complaint. I do not think that it would be unwise if the Government would prescribe the kind and the quality of road construction.
Mr. WOODRUFF. I think that the Bureau of Roads provides certain limitation on the construction of these roads.
Mr. ALMON. Mr. Markham, I have been impressed with the very valuable information that you have been able to give the committee from time to time, but you have been unable to give some very important information by reason of the fact that you have not visited the different States and had an opportunity to visualize the work as it is being done, and I realize it would be of more importance to the committee if you had that information; and I was wondering whether or not there were any funds available by which you could make a trip of inspection over as many States as possible during the recess of Congress, or such time as would be necessary, in order to give this information to the committee that I suggest.
Mr. MARKHAM. There are no funds available for anything of that kind, Mr. Almon.
Mr. ALMON. There is no way that it could be figured ?
Mr. DOWELL. We have got your table, but, of course, you do not state the relative increase in the size as well as the speed of trucks, automobiles, etc., and those are two important factors.
Mr. MARKHAM. Very much so.
Mr. DOWELL. To what degree is this true, that the difficulty in the upkeep of the roads is a result of the comparative slowness in the States in changing their laws originally for the protection of the roads against steel-tired heavy trucks? I do not know whether I make myself clear or not.
Mr. MARKHAM. I think I understand what you mean—the matter of weight on the wheel and the matter of speed, as well as the loads on the trucks. For several years the various States, or some States, have attempted to regulate that.
Mr. DoWELL. You will find where the State laws have made adequate progress against steel-tired wagons, etc., but have not modified their laws to comply with changed conditions.
Mr. MÆRKHAM. Well, some States have attempted to do so. There has been an attempt made, and there has been considerable work done in trying to get a uniform law in all States pertaining to the speed of trucks, weight of trucks, etc.
Mr. DoWELL. That leads up to another question I had in mind. Is there any considerable demand or necessity for Governmental regulations?
Mr. MARKHAM. I do not think so; I do not think that that would be necessary. I think that the States are handling that about as expeditiously as they can.
Mr. DoWELL. We understand, of course, that governmental regulations could apply only on post roads.
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes; and it would be a very difficult thing for the Federal Government to enforce those regulations and carry them out.
Mr. HUDSPETH. Mr. Markham, before you finish your statement, will you put in your remarks an estimate with regard to the $75,000,000 ?
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROBSION. If I understand your statement, the road law passed by Congress last November contemplates the construction of about 186,000 miles of primary roads in the United States.
Mr. MARKHAM. Primary and secondary.
Mr. ROBSION. Primary and secondary roads?
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes, sir; and with $100,000,000 per year, this system of roads could be constructed in 10 years. Using the present ratio of costs, and with $75,000,000, they could be completed in 15 years, and with $50,000,000 it will take 20 years.
Mr. ROBSION. Now, your association takes the position that it is of an immense economic value to the country to have these roads constructed to meet the transportation needs of the country?
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Where the trucks and automobiles have increased by leaps and bounds?
Mr. MARKHAM. They are not “bound” at all.
Mr. ROBSION. Now, the country as a whole has proportionately made advances, and in order for the States to do what they want to do, Congress has got to appropriate the money, and it has not appropriated the money for them to go ahead with this great work and carry it on to completion.
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. MARKHAM. Not to exceed 3 per cent of the 7 per cent are to be primary roads, and the remaining 4 per cent secondary, according to the law passed last November.
The CHAIRMAN. By primary roads, what do you mean?
Mr. MARKHAM. In each of the States not to exceed 3 per cent of the roads shall be what is known as primary or interstate roads and the remainder, or 4 per cent secondary or intercountry roads.
The CHAIRMAN. That does not apply to the method of construction?
Mr. DOUGHTON. Not more than 3 per cent are primary roads. That does not necessarily mean that that amount shall be primary roads. It might be less than that.
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes, sir. I am trying to visualize the United States. I am not visualizing each State. For instance, the State of Rhode Island has 166 miles in her first 7 per cent. They have 166 miles completed, so that they will be able to commence immediately on their second 7 per cent. So that while it is going to take many years for the whole United States, there are a number of States, certainly in some sections of the country, that will be able to complete the first 7 per cent and start on the second 7 per cent in a very few years.
Mr. Robsion. As I understand the statement of your association, it was that to carry on your program for the next two years it will at least require $75,000,000 a year?
Mr. MARKHAM. To my mind that seems to be the request and the judgment of most of the States.
Mr. WOODRUFF. If I understood you a few moments ago, Mr. Markham, do not those figures upon which that amount is based, upon which that program is based, represent a very much more ambitious program than anything they have carried on?
Mr. MARKHAM. Well, in some of the States, yes; and other States, no.
Mr. Robsion. Now, I do not see how that can be when it has been brought out in the committee that they spent nearly $100,000,000.
Mr. MARKHAM. I think that you will find that we paid out during the last two years around $82,000,000 a year on the program. We put under construction—the States have during the last three years—an average of $80,000,000 to $82,000,000 a year. I think that that answers with regard to the $75,000,000 during the coming year, and that the States can use $75,000,000.
Mr. ROBSION. That answers the further question that $75,000,000 is not as ambitious as we have been in the past.
Mr. SUMMERS. We are just now getting a good start.
Mr. ROBSION. I have not overlooked the fact that in parts of the country they have not been in position to go forward with this work.
Mr. SUMMERS. And do not overlook this fact, that they have to plan for an 18 months or 2 years' program, and that they have to get the legislative enactments, and that the legislatures in most cases plan at least two years ahead.
Mr. ROBSION. And further it is necessary to have a program in order that the legislators may know what to appropriate for roads.
Mr. WOODRUFF. Mr. Markham has particularly stressed that point. His association has felt that that is an important matter, that we should have a program. He has stated that that is as important as appropriations.
Mr. MARKHAM. By all means. That is the word that we get from every State highway department, that a program is of vastly more importance than the amount of money that may be carried into this appropriation for this year.
There is just one more remark, if you please. There are some States that financially feel that they are much poorer now than they were a year ago on account of crop conditions or crop prices, or whatever the conditions may be. This has made the people at home feel as if they could slow up with this work. I could mention six or eight mid-western States in which quite a number of people feel that way, and so the highway departments, knowing the local pulse, say, “So far as we are concerned we have the work to do, and have the motor license fees or a tax levy," or whatever is their plan, “but maybe it is a wise think to lessen the program.”
Mr. ROBSION. Some of the States are complaining because they can not get their stuff to market, because of the high freight rates.
Mr. MARKHAM. Exactly so, because of the high freight rates.
Mr. HUDSPETH. It would not help the old farmer much to get his stuff to the market unless he can sell it, will it?
Mr. MARKHAM. No, sir. I wish to present to you for your record the positions taken on this subject by the National Agricultural Conference held in Washington in the week of January 23, 1922; the American Farm Bureau Federation at their last annual meeting held at Atlanta, Ga., November 21, 1921, and the statement issued by the American Association of State Highway Officials at their last annual meeting held in Omaha, December 8, 1921.
(The matter referred to is printed in the record in full, as follows:)
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL CONFERENCE, WASHINGTON, D. C.-HIGHWAYS
RESOLUTION PASSED JANUARY 27, 1922.
Country highways are the farmers' first and principal transportation' means of marketing their products. They are the arteries of the economic and social system of the country. On their condition rests the amount of the transportation charge that must be added to the gross cost of farm products. The more fully they are developed, the less the weather conditions and soil are allowed to clog the flow of traffic, the greater will be the health of the body politic and the added profusion of enjoyments and privileges to the common people.
The loss from bad roads should be reduced to a minimum, not only to enlarge the farmer's market but to shorten the time and reduce the spread of price between the farmer and the consumer.
The farmer ought to be able to haul to market twice as much, twice as often, as he has been able to do in the past. If the farmer is to be put in a position to help influence the price of his products by not dumping them on the market for fear of unseasonable weather, he must control the condition of the roads to his market. Without proper road conditions “orderly marketing" can never be accomplished. Rapid growth of traffic over the highways has been so greatly intensified during the past few years that this method of transportation needs earnest and careful consideration. To this end we urge the closest coordination between the three major forms of transportation, so that railways, waterways, and highways may each carry the kind of traffic that it can the most economically, expeditiously, and efficiently serve.
We commend the Department of Agriculture, State highway departments, and colleges for their research in connection with highway construction, maintenance, and transportation over the highways and urge full support be given these investigations.
We approve the action of Congress in continuing Federal aid for the building of interstate, postal, and farm-to-market highways under the Department of Agriculture and making appropriation therefor. We believe this policy to be equitable and constructive. We urge Congress to continue this policy for a definite period, so that the States may plan adequate cooperation,
We call particular attention of Federal and State authorities to the growing necessity for regulation of traffic on highways, in order that they may be protected from excessive and destructive abuse. Research into causes of highway wear should be continued by the Department of Agriculture and State highway departments, and traffic regulated according to the facts developed.
It is self-evident that farm products are the most cheaply transported over well-kept highways. We, therefore, urge that all possible safeguards should be placed about the maintenance of highways.
Safety of life and limb on the highways is paramount, and we favor every effort to make the use of streets and highways less dangerous to all citizens.
We commend the Department of Agriculture for its policy in highway improvement, of providing roads suitable for horse-drawn as well as motorized vehicles, and urge that wherever practicable side roads be constructed adjacent to the surfaced portion of the highway.
Rapidly changing traffic conditions on our thoroughfares make the construction and maintenance of our highways an important engineering and business undertaking. Therefore, all partisan or political consideration must be eliminated.
AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION APPROVES FEDERAL HIGHWAY PROGRAM,
The American Farm Bureau Federation at its third annual meeting at Atlanta, November 21 to 23, 1921, went on record as favoring the principles of Federal aid in highway construction and the cooperation between the States and the Federal Government as outlined in House bill 8978 by Representative Roy 0. Woodruff, of Michigan. This bill supplies a five-year program, enabling a consecutive plan in the construction of highways, avoiding the uncertainty and delay annually dependent upon further legislative authorization.
The resolution is as follows:
"Resolved, That the American Farm Bureau Federation approves the principles of Federal aid in highway construction and favors cooperation between the States and the Federal Government as outlined in House bill 8978 by Mr. Woodruff, which supplies a five-year program, enabling consecutive planning and construction, avoiding the uncertainty and delay annually dependent upon further legislative authorization.”
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY OFFICIALS.
Resolution passed by American Association of State Highway Officials at their annual meeting at Omaha, Nebr., December 8, 1921 :
"Resolved, That the American Association of State Highway Officials heartily indorses the action of Congress in adopting a policy of Federal aid for highways, to be applied to a definite system of highways as provided in the Federal highway act, which went into effect November 9, 1921.
“As officials of the State highway departments, upon whom this law imposes certain requirements and obligations, we pledge our hearty and unqualified support to the Federal Bureau of Public Roads in carrying out the provisions of said act.
“Inasmuch as the act contemplates continued Federal participation with the States in highway improvement we realize and emphasize the absolute necessity of a definite policy projected far enough into the future to make possible the economic and satisfactory planning and carrying out of the intent and purpose of the act.
"To this end we indorse House bill 8978, introduced by Hon. Roy Woodruff, which bill authorizes the appropriation of $100,000,000 annually for five years beginning July 1, 1922, as a general Federal aid appropriation, and we also urge that adequate provision be made in the said bill for the continued development of highways in and adjacent to the forest areas and Indian reservations under unified control,
“The adoption of this five-year program is necessary to enable the States, through their legislatures, to make proper provisions for the requisite State cooperation in this enterprise."