Page images

The CHAIRMAN. Suppose that these roads were started one year, with the idea next year you would improve them again-surface them or something.

Mr. MACDONALD. We have what is known as two-stage construction, in which the first contract is for the grading, drainage, the putting in of the drainage structures, and occasionally includes a light surfacing of sand and gravel.

That process is followed, because in heavy grading work a road grade should have at least a year to settle before any other form of surfacing is placed on it.

As an example, the road between Minneapolis and Duluth was built and was graded, the drainage structures built, tile drains put in where necessary, and then a very light covering of local gravel put over the road as a maintenance proposition. That road has been maintained for several years as a gravel road. Naturally, it is of a light construction.

The CHAIRMAN. Maintained by the State?

Mr. MacDONALD. Maintained by the State, yes, sir; but when a paved surface is put upon that same road, we will participate from Federal aid funds, provided the first cost plus the cost of the surfacing does not exceed $20,000 a mile in Federal funds.

The CHAIRMAN. That is what I want to know. Do you pay for the repairs. that are necessary to put it in shape to take that surface?

Mr. MacDONALD. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You would have to have the road as left?
Mr. MACDONALD. It will be maintained

The CHAIRMAN (interposing). It will be maintained in the same condition as left?

Mr. MACDONALD. Yes, sir.; and by the addition of new material

Mr. DOWELL (interposing). You contribute toward the sand and gravel surface?

Mr. MACDONALD. We may or we may not; as the agreement may be.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the second time?
Mr. DOWELL. No; I mean the first time.

Mr. MACDONALD. Yes; the first time we do, if the State desires it; but it is always local materials. It is not material shipped in.

Mr. Dowell. How much have you paid for that character of surface?

Mr. MACDONALD. It would be necessary to look up the records to answer that for individual cases.

I have before me a very detailed list of our projects, completed and paid for; up to the 31st of December, 1921. These projects were scattered throughout the country and represent about 7,500 miles of road, which would give a very good average for the United States.

Of the total we had built at that time, 42,000,000 square yards were of sandclay and gravel roads and were built at an average cost for the surface of 38 cents per square yard.

Mr. DOWELL. How much of this money is being spent on temporary roads that necessarily will have to be rebuilt?

Mr. MACDONALD. None of it.

Mr. DoWELL. Now, of course, the fact that the roads have to be improved, the surface you have used on them is not claimed to be a permanent surface?

Mr. MACDONALD. No, sir.

Mr. DOWELL. If, afterwards, you do put a permanent surface upon that, this amount that has been used for the temporary surface work is taken from the road and is of no further use?

Mr. MACDONALD. No, sir; that is wrong.
Mr. DOWELL. Then, I want it explained.
Mr. MACDONALD. I am very glad to bring that out before the committee.
Mr. DoWELL. Well, I do not want you to go into it this morning.
Mr. MacDONALD. I should be very glad to bring that out.

The CHAIRMAN. I will ask one more question, then I am through. I would like to know, Mr. MacDonald-I want to get it clear in my mind when this road—the first act of the committee in giving money in participating is to build a new road, is it not, to make roads at different costs, at even $2,000 per mile, if you agree with the plans, etc. You can build any priced road, can you not, your bureau, can build any priced road, and it does not make any difference whether it is a surfaced road or an ordinary country road?

Mr. MacDONALD. We do not do that.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean this--you have the power?
Mr. MacDONALD. As an academic matter; yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, what I want to get clearly in my mind is whether you can build a cheaper road than $1,000 a mile, or perhaps $500, or perhaps $1,500.

Mr. MacDONALD. We do not build that kind of road.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not put any money into those roads?
Mr. MacDONALD. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You have not put any money into those roads?
Mr. MacDONALD. No.

The CHAIRMAN. But what I mean is, with roads costing a little more than that, not so cheap as that, gravel roads—where you build a road of that sort and that road disappears practically through floods, washouts, frost, or from any other cause, would you have to go over that and give them money again to put that road in shape or resurface it?

Mr. MacDONALD. If that question came up, we could contribute Federal aid for the resurfacing of that road, provided the cost plus the original cost does not exceed $20,000 a mile in Federal funds, but it is a wrong conception to think that that road ever disappears, because the biggest investment this country has in highways is the old-established grades that have been used for a long time and have been compacted by the traffic over them and on which we say the surface disappears. Yet it may have been hammered down into the grade, but the biggest investment we have in this country in roads is in these old grades. The surface we expect to wear out. We hope the grades will not wear out. And a grade a year old is a far better investment for the people, for the public, than it was when it was originally built.

The CHAIRMAN. Unless it was a muddy road; unless it turns out to be muddy?

Mr. MacDONALD. I do not want to take the time of the committee this morning to go into the colloidal condition of the soils, and all of that sort of thing, but will be very glad to bring samples of soil analyses before the committee and point that out.

As the old grades become more compact from year to year they become better and better subgrades over which to build our surfacings.

Let me point out to you that in the State of Maryland the road to Cumberland, the old National Pike, is carrying the traffic to-day, not because the surface is so good—it is a very cheaply built macadam-but because that old grade was built well about 100 years ago. They are actually carrying that heavy traffic from Baltimore westward to Cumberland over a macadam that in some instances is not more than 4 or 5 inches in thickness.

The CHAIRMAN. What I do want to know is, do the States where those roads have been built by Government participation, do the States keep them in such order that you do not have to put them in order when it becomes necessary to resurface them?

Mr. MacDONALD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; that is all that I want to know.

Mr. MacDONALD. We have had one or two States where it has been necessary to notify them that unless the roads were placed in a satisfactory condition of maintenance we would deny further Federal aid. And that is provided for in the old act, but under the new act the department must go a step further, and if after due notice the road is not maintained then the department must undertake the maintenance.

Mr. WOODRUFF. Charging that back to the State?

Mr. MacDonald. Charging that back to the State against the allotment for the State.

Mr. WOODRUFF. That is it.

Mr. MacDONALD. Yes, sir; but the State must actually reimburse our fund to that amount of money before they ever can obtain any more Federal aid.

Mr. WOODRUFF. In other words, the State does not secure any further Federal aid of any sort whatsoever?

Mr. MACDONALD. Not until the money spent by the Government for maintenance has been reimbursed.

Mr. Robsion. If I understand your statement, there are two stages of construction; the first is grading?

Mr. MacDONALD. Yes, sir.

Mr. Robsion. Now, is not this one of the errors that we have fallen into in road construction in this country-that we have graded the roads, and before they have been properly worked down and settled we have put macadam on them when they did not have the proper foundation for the road, and that often makes it very expensive.

Mr. MacDONALD. Absolutely.

Mr. Robsion. And it is a great deal more important to grade the road and let it properly settle and wear down; not wear away, but settle down and get in shape, and that is not a loss, but that process must be gone through with in order to give time for it to wear down. Is not that really sensible road construction?

Mr. MacDonald. It is, in my judgment. The only high-class road engineering is when we follow that course of construction. Now, that road always

Mr. RobsION (interposing). Now, when the grade has settled down, then it is later completed by putting surface on it. Of course a road must be straightened up before that can be done.

Mr. MacDONALD. Well, if it is properly maintained it ordinarily requires nothing except leveling the crown, which has been kept round and has to be simply cut off and flattened to hold the new surface.

Mr. HUDSPETH. Would that apply to the cuts as well as to the fills?

Mr. MacDONALD. Yes; it would apply particularly to the cuts; and we have to have a special application of a little top soil, sand or gravel, to carry the road. We do not have the difficulty of the cuts settling; but we do have difficulty of springs or the outcropping of water where we cut through the hill top; that is, we find some of the wettiest and hardest places to drain on top of the hills-strange as it may seem,

Mr. Rose. Mr. MacDonald, you understand that the chairman seems to be somewhat alarmed about the Federal aid roads having been built and, then, going to pieces either through bad construction or weather conditions? That does not follow. Then, he wants to know whether this Government then gives aid the second time. Now, the point that I want to bring out is that after the roads have been completed then your department has completed its work; that is, it is confined under the law to giving aid for the construction of the roads?

Mr. MacDONALD. Exactly, sir; and, of course, I would not say that none of the graded roads do not get muddy in the spring of the year. They certainly do get muddy ; but, as soon as they dry out, they are shaped up and kept in shape by the States, and are dragged continuously. under the patrol system, so that those roads are maintained in as good condition throughout the year as they can be maintained.

Mr. WOODRUFF. And, as a matter of fact, Mr. Director, is it not a help to those muddy, graded roads for them to get muddy, and does it not result in them settling more quickly ?

Mr. MACDONALD. Yes; I should like to point out in that connection

Mr. ALMON (interposing). Is there any law prohibiting the Government contributing toward the rebuilding or repairing of these roads which have been heretofore built by Federal aid ?

Mr. MacDONALD. No, sir.
Mr. ALMON. I did not think there was.

Mr. MacDONALD. Mr. Chairman, I should like to know if this letter fully answers your question?

The CHAIRMAN. Very well, I think.
Mr. HUDSPETH. You have soil tests of the different States?
Mr. MacDONALD. Yes; we can show them to you.
Mr. HUDSPETH. You can exhibit them to the committee?



Jr. MARKHAM. I have prepared, genti nen, as a sort of preliminary, to help you visualize the situation, a series of charts showing the trucks and automobiles in the United States. This series of charts [exhibiting charts to the committee] explains to you the transportation situation in the United States as pertains to highways and also gives you a very clear condition of the 7 per cent system as far as it has advanced.

I think, with all due modesty, this committee can take unto itself the credit for passing the 7 per cent system as was established last November, and I thought that you would be interested to realize how far along you are in this matter, and what your responsibility is. You will notice that the first chart gives you the truck

Mr. ROBSION (interposing). I am glad to hear you give us some credit, because the American Automobile Association, and other associations, I notice, give the credit to Mr. Townsend for all of this legislation.

Mr. MARKHAM. Well, I beg your pardon; I did not mean to get into any con. troversy.

Mr. SUMMERS. You did not mean to do it.
Mr. MARKHAM. I simply remarked what I thought was true.

There is no better way to approach a study of the necessity for proper highway construction and upkeep of roads than an investigation of the cost of highways in relation to cost of the rolling stock.

And coming to the first chart marked "Trucks," you will note that in 1910 the trucks numbered 14,000; in 1916, 250,000; and in 1921, 1,346,000; and I think that you will realize the fact that the truck as a problem of transportation on our highways is in its infancy. This shows that in the past five years the number of trucks used for transportation has increased over 1,000,000. When we realize that over 12,000 of these trucks are used in the country to take children to school, that hundreds of motor express lines with regular schedules have been established, that 6,000,000 head of cattle were transported by truck in 1921, and that the farmer has just begun to use the truck to carry his products to market, it is easily discernible, that the use of the highway for this motor transportation is in its infancy.

Mr. ALMON. How far were those cattle transported ?

Mr. MARKHAM. From a short distance up to 150 miles. They were not handled by rail.

The number of automobiles in this country in 1910 was 487,000. In 1916, it had increased to 3,263,000. Within the next five years, it made a leap to 8,404,000-an increase in five years of considerably over 1,000,000 cars a year, and yet the automobile has not arrived at its maximum, because since I have prepared this chart I have seen the statement made that we now have over 10,250,000 licenses issued the first of this year, 1922.

It is thus seen that the combined use of trucks and automobiles which at the close of 1921 equaled not less than 9,750,000 has placed upon our highways a tremendous amount of property which should be protected as much as possible from deterioration as well as being expedited in its travel.

Comparing the funds used for the construction of roads and the money of the people tied up in highway rolling stock of a motorized character, we find some very interesting comparisons. If we place a value of $1,500 each on trucks and $750 each on automobiles, we find that in 1910 the value of the motorvehicle investment was $386,250,000. That year we spent for new road construction, $95,000,000. The States expended for new construction from 1910 to 1916, inclusive, $1,056,000,000, but the motor-vehicle investment had jumped to $2,822,250,000. Now comes the most startling situation of all. While the entire funds for road construction from 1910 to 1921, inclusive, is $2,526,000,000, the motor-vehicle investment in 1921 reached the peak of $8,322,000,000.

Some one might raise the question as to whether we had taken into consideration the amount of money which had been expended before 1910 for real road construction. Surely some of the eastern and New England States have spent some; but you must bear in mind also that I have not given any consideration in making this comparison of the money invested in horse-drawn vehicles, or the money invested in horses, harness, and wagons. We have not taken into consideration that side of the investment. Neither has the loss sustained through lack of orderly marketing or the added cost of transportation now in evidence between the producer and the consumer been given consideration.

There have been considerable study and experiments made in various States as to the saving and costs of transportation over good and bad roads. The heavy depreciation in wear and tear, tire replacements, and increased quantity of gasoline needed because of bad roads during the past year are conservatively estimated to more than offset the actual money placed under contract for new road construction and maintenance-viz, $600,000,000.

In view of these facts it can readily be seen that the determination of Congress and the States to approach the matter of road construction through a definite plan on a specified system has not been promulgated any too soon.

When this Congress last November passed the Federal-aid highway act it put its approval on a permanent policy for cooperation with the States in road construction. This was done by an almost unanimous vote. The details of this law are familiar to you, since this is the committee that is responsible for such forward legislation.

You have incorporated into law a definite plan. It calls for the expenditure of funds on a system of interstate and intercounty roads; which, in their incipiency, shall not exceed 7 per cent of the road mileage in each State.

Having adopted this plan, it is to be presumed that you expect to appropriate funds for carrying out the law. Upon this assumption it is of importance for you to know what the road mileage of the first 7 per cent system is and how much of an appropriation the Federal Government should make annually that the work may go forward economically an expeditiously.

Representing the American Association of State Highway Officials, I have made a careful investigation of this subject and wish to present to you the deductions made.

Approximately the first 7 per cent system of the highways of this country is 186,700-miles. Of this mileage 69,090 miles have been improved or are in various stages of construction. That portion of this constructed mileage which has been paid for by the use of Federal aid has been done at an average cost of $18,000 per mile. The Federal Government has contributed 421 per cent and the States 574 per cent. This leaves 117,610 miles of the first 7 per cent system to be built. Presuming that this mileage will be constructed at the same average cost as heretofore, and that the Federal Government and the States will pay the cost in the same ratio, the time required to carry out this: plan will be as follows: If you make an appropriation of $100,000,000 per year, it will take 10 years; an appropriation of $75,000,000 per year will take 15 years, and an appropriation of $50,000,000 will require 20 years to complete the system.

To show you that this calculation is very liberal toward the completion of the work, it should be borne in mind that no lag in completion of this system is, allowed for reconstruction or surfacing of any part of the 69,090 miles now improved, although a part of this mileage will undoubtedly need a higher type of construction due to the increased traffic requirements.

Representing the States which, through their State highway departments, are responsible for cooperation with the Federal Government in this work, we are not disposed to ask the Congress for larger appropriations than can, recognizing economic conditions as well as traffic needs, be absorbed each year properly safeguarded in every particular. To this end I wish to state that investigation shows that while a very few States, because of varied and peculiar conditions, will need the next fiscal year to absorb the appropriations already made, two-thirds of the States can readily absorb all of their apportionment of a $100,000,000 appropriation.

To cut this appropriation by two would mean to retard the work in many States to an extent that, in our judgment, would be an economic mistake. We therefore recommend that the Federal appropriation for the fiscal year 1922–23. should be $75,000,000.

There should not need to be any argument with you as to the necessity of authorizing an appropriation beyond a one-year period. You realize the administrative work required of both the Federal Government and the States to carry out this law. Uncertainty in the past of either is an economic loss. We understand that President Harding is favorable to an authorization of three years—not wishing to plan beyond his present term of office. This is entirely satisfactory to us and will be quite helpful to the State legislatures of 34 States which meet next winter and then will not be in session again for two. years.

I have prepared a tabulated statement showing you, in the first column, the amount of money on band in each State for each State for new construction the 1st of January, this year.

Then I have added to that a $50,000,000 appropriation, presuming that would be your appropriation under the present bill. I did that to show what they would have. That gives them an 18-month program.

Mr. DOUGHTON. Just a moment. Do you mean $50,000,000 from the 1st of January, 1922?

Mr. MARKHAM. No; I mean from the 1st of July, 1922, the next fiscal year.
Mr. DOUGHTON. That absorbs the $75,000,000 appropriation for this year?
Mr. MARKHAM. Yes. I am adding $50,000,000 more.
Mr. DOUGHTON. Assuming that that will be the next appropriation.

Mr. CABLE. Seventy-five million dollars could be well used during the fiscal year 1923?

Mr. MARKHAM. I would think so; but I will get to that a little further.

Mr. ALMON. Have you got a column that will show what it will be if we appropriated $75,000,000 ?

« PreviousContinue »