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AMENDMENTS TO H. R, 5234 REQUESTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
RAILROAD AND UTILITIES COMMISSIONERS
Amend section 302, at page 3, by adding thereto, following line 4, a new paragraph, as follows:
"(c) Nothing in this part shall be construed to affect the powers of taxation of the several States, or to authorize any air carrier to engage in the transportation of persons or property in intrastate commerce in any State in contravention of the laws of such State, nor to give to the Commission any jurisdiction to control such transportation or the rates applicable thereto."
NOTE.--This paragraph corresponds to paragraph (c) of section 202 of the Motor Carrier Act, 1935.
Amend section 304, at page 9, by adding thereto, following line 20, a new paragraph, as follows:
"(f) The Commission is authorized to confer with or to hold joint hearings with any authorities of any State in connection with any matter arising in any proceedings under this part. The Commission is also authorized to avail itself of the cooperation, services, records, and facilities of such State authorities as fully as may be practicable in the enforcement or administration of any provision of this part.”
NOTE.-This language is taken without change from section 205 (g) of the Motor Carrier Act, 1935.
Amend section 309 (a), at page 26, by inserting, after the word "effective”, in line 5, the following proviso:
"Provided, however, That nothing in this part shall empower the Commission to prescribe or in any manner regulate the rate, fare, or charge for intrastate transportation, or for any service connected therewith, for the purpose of removing discrimination against interstate commerce or for any other purpose whatever.”
NOTE.This language is taken from section 216 (e) of the Motor Carrier Act, 1935, without change.
Amend paragraphs (b) and (c) of said section 309, on pages 26 and 27, by renumbering the same as paragraphs (c) and (d).
Mr. BENTON. Before I proceed to the discussion of the amendments, let me say that the view entertained by the association is this, with respect to the desirability of the enactment of legislation at this time providing for the regulation of interstate and foreign commerce by aircraft through a Federal commission: The aviation industry seems certain to have a large development in the future. It is desirable that it shall have such development and that the public of the United States shall be afforded the benefits of its service as early as may be, and that the service shall be safe and well regulated.
It is the view of our association that any important public-utility industry requires regulation in the public interest and will be regulated sooner or later, and that the full purpose of regulation can be accomplished only by regulation from the beginning of the development of the industry.
It is not a question of reasonable rates at this time. It is rather a question of establishing such conditions that there may be an encouraged development of the aircraft business, wherever conditions would support aircraft operation, with opportunities for the investing public to invest their money under conditions affording a maximum degree of safety, taking into account the character of the business and the general situation; and of establishing conditions and this is of paramount importance—which will avoid the wastes and losses which will be inevitable if the business is left to struggle to establish itself in open competition. Such losses and wastes, if there be no regulation of consolidations and securities issues, will be transformed into securities of one sort or another which will be distributed to the public
and will constitute a load upon the industry hereafter—a load which the public will be asked to bear by rates upon the business, after it shall have developed in the future, to enable the payment of returns in the form of interest and dividends.
This sort of thing can be avoided if the Congress shall at this time provide for the character of regulation which is now being given to other public-utility enterprises.
Now, taking up the matter of amendments, which will safeguard State power of regulation whenever that power is needed to be exercised, we wish to say this: Some of the State commissions now have jurisdiction over aircraft, as common carriers, and many of them have duties with respect to licensing or inspecting aircraft. The regulation of aircraft by the State authorities, however, is very slight at this time. Congress in legislating will, however, of course, look to the future and to a future large development of the aircraft industry. While transportation by aircraft may now be principally for long distances passing over State lines, and hence interstate in character, yet when the industry is fully developed, it may very well be that in the larger States there will be a substantial intrastate commerce by aircraft, not primarily subject to the jurisdiction or regulation by the Federal Government, which will need to be regulated by the States.
Accordingly, whenever you shall come to enact a statute for the regulation of the aviation industry, we assume and ask that you will include in the bill provisions which will recognize that the States have the power to establish, and will establish regulations with respect to intrastate transportation by air, and that the same occasion which exists now for the correlation of State regulation with interstate regulation of railroads and other public-utility industries will then exist as to the aviation industry.
Beginning in 1920 the Congress inserted in the Transportation Act provisions for cooperation between the Interstate Commerce Commission and the State commissions in the regulation of railroads, in the way of joint conferences and in the way of joint hearings which have been very much used with the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Congress, later, when it came to provide for regulation of communications companies, inserted corresponding provisions in the Communications Act. Those have been used less, because very few rate matters have come before the Communications Commission, which, so far as telephone companies are concerned, has been giving its attention to the investigation which was directed by Congress. And yet, in a very important way, the provisions have been used with the Communications Commission. The accounting system, which was prescribed by the Communications Commission, was worked out through weeks of work by the accountants of the Communications Commission and of the State commissions. And the national association, in its convention of 1935, recommended the adoption of the identical system by the State commissions, which had been prescribed by the Communications Commission. It would not have been possible to have obtained any such action as that without those cooperative provisions in the act.
I may also say that the association participated in the defense of the Communications Commission order in the courts, in the United States District Court in New York and in the Supreme Court of the
United States. This participation is spoken of by both courts, as you will note, if you come to read the opinions.
When, in 1935, the Congress enacted the Federal Power Act, you included similar provisions in that act, and they have been used in the same way. The accounting system prescribed by the Federal Power Commission was not prepared by that Commission alone. The standing Committee on Utility Accounts of the National Association, composed of leading accountants from different State commissions, for many months really for a period of more than 2 years-worked with the Federal Commission in preparing the accounting system which was finally promulgated by the Federal Power Commission.
Then, at its annual convention at Atlantic City this last fall, the National Association recommended to all State commissions that they adopt the system which the Federal commission has prescribed.
In the Motor Carrier Act, of course, you not only included the cooperative provisions which were in the Transportation Act of 1920, but you included a mandatory joint board provision. Under that Commissioner Caskie was telling me last night that they are getting a tremendous amount of work out of the State commission representatives on the joint boards. He was also kind enough to speak in a most complimentary way of the character of work that is being done by those representatives.
Mr. COLE. May I ask a question?
Mr. COLE. How many States now have laws vesting in the commissions forming the association you represent any jurisdiction over aviation ?
Mr. BENTON. I regret that I cannot tell you accurately, for I do not have the information in my office, but I understand that in the States of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming air carriers are classed as common carriers if they engage in general transportation, and the commissions have the same jurisdiction that they exercise over other classes of common carriers.
Other State commissions—and I cannot name them at this timehave some jurisdiction over certificates and licenses.
Mr. COLE. Do you know whether or not most of the State laws today set up aviation commissions independent of the public service commissions of the State? Some of the States do and I was wondering if that was the general practice throughout the country.
Mr. BENTON. In some States that has been done. I think that the more common practice has been to vest the jurisdiction in the public service commission or other regulatory board.
Mr. COLE. You think that is the general practice?
Mr. BENTON. I think that has been the more general practice, although, let me say, Mr. Congressman, that I think the vesting of jurisdiction anywhere actually to regulate air carriers, as utilities or as common carriers, has not been carried very far. The purpose, as I have sought to make clear, of our recommendations to the committee at that time, is that the congressional act, whenever you pass any, shall be so drawn that the States may accommodate themselves to the situation in the future, and provide for active State regulation, whenever need may arise for the exercise of their regulatory
functions, without any impediment, and may be able to correlate what they do, with what is then being done by the Federal commission.
I want now to present the three amendments which I have already submitted for the record. I will read them, if I may, and comment on them as I go along.
We ask to amend section 302, page 3, by adding thereto, following line 4, a new paragraph to read as follows:
(c) Nothing in this part shall be construed to affect the powers of taxation of the several States, or to authorize any air carrier to engage in the transportation of persons or property in interstate commerce in any State in contravention of the laws of such State, nor to give to the Commission any jurisdiction to control such transportation, or the rates applicable thereto.
A substantial part of that paragraph is taken from section 202 of the Motor Carrier Act, paragraph (c). The purpose of that, of course, is to make it clear that Congress is not attempting to encroach upon what has always been regarded as the constitutional right of the States to control their own intrastate commerce. Mr. HALLECK. May I ask a question? The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Halleck.
Mr. HALLECK. In view of the fact that the jurisdiction of the Federal Government is limited to control over interstate commerce why is it necessary, in your opinion, that we should have some such a provision as this? In other words, we could not control intrastate commerce or exercise intrastate jurisdiction if we wanted to.
Mr. BENTON. No; I assume you could not; but the suggestion has been made that Congress, for the purpose of enabling the State carrier to live, might authorize it to operate also for the carriage of intrastate commerce. It is to negative any such possible claim; that Congress has intended to disregard the State power; that we ask to have the same sort of provision in this act that has been put into all other acts, since the act to regulate commerce was passed in 1887. In that Congress made it clear that it was not attempting to regulate what took place within the States; and in every regulatory act since then, I think I am correct in saying, Congress has made a similar provision.
Mr. REECE. Will you please point out wherein the language in this proposed amendment is dissimilar to the provision in the Motor Carrier Act?
Mr. BENTON. The Motor Carrier Act provides : Nothing in this part shall be construed to affect the powers of taxation of the several States or to authorize a motor carrier to do an intrastate business on the highways of any State or to interfere with the exclusive exercise by each State of the power of regulation of intrastate commerce by motor carriers on the highways thereof.
The latter part of this amendment does not follow that language. I mention that so that if anybody wants to compare the two they can see the similarity between this language and that contained in section 202 (e) of the Motor Carrier Act.
The second amendment which we ask to have made is to section 304, at page 9, by adding thereto, following line 20, a new paragraph, as follows:
(f) The Commission is authorized to confer with or to hold joint hearings with any authorities
and I call the attention of Congressman Cole to this particular wordingof any State in connection with any matter arising in any proceedings under this part. The Commission is also authorized to avail itself of the cooperation, services, records, and facilities of such State authorities as fully as may be practicable, in the enforcement or administration of any provision of this part.
So that in any State where the State has given jurisdiction to regulate the aviation industry to an aviation commission, as distinguished from a commission which regulates other utilities, this language will apply to that Commission. I would say also that the language which I have just read is taken without change from section 205 (g) of the Motor Carrier Act.
The next amendment which we suggest is to section 309 (a), page 26, by inserting after the word "effective” in line 5 the following proviso:
Provided, however, That nothing in this part shall empower the Commission to prescribe, or in any manner regulate, the rate, fare, or charge for intrastate transportation, or for any service connected therewith, for the purpose of removing discrimination against interstate commerce or for any other purpose whatever.
This language is taken without change from section 216 (e) of the motor carrier act of 1935.
Mr. CROSSER (presiding). Mr. Benton, we have two or three other witnesses scheduled to be heard. I wonder if it would be agreeable to you to submit the other amendments for the record.
Mr. BENTON. Mr. Chairman, the other amendments relate merely to renumbering of paragraphs. Amend paragraphs (b) and (c) of section 309, on pages 26 and 27 by renumbering the same paragraphs as (c) and (d).
Mr. CROSSER. I see.
Mr. BENTON. That completes all I wish to say, unless there are some questions.
Mr. CROSSER. Thank you.
Mr. CROSSER. The next witness scheduled to be heard is Mr. David L. Behncke, president of the Air Line Pilots' Association.
Mr. ehncke, I believe, wants to make a complete statement without interruption, as he thinks his remarks will be more logically presented, after which he will answer any questions which the committee may desire to ask.
Mr. Behncke, we will be glad to hear you. STATEMENTS OF DAVID L. BEHNCKE, PRESIDENT OF THE AIR
LINE PILOTS' ASSOCIATION, CHICAGO, ILL., AND EDWARD G. HAMILTON, EXECUTIVE REPRESENTATIVE OF AIR LINE PILOTS' ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. BEHNCKE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: My name is David L. Behncke. I am president of the Air Line Pilots Association, and I represent the air-line pilots flying in North America and South America. The association that I speak for represents 90 percent of the air-line pilots flying on the air lines. The Air Line Pilots' Association is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.