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erly developed and well connected system of roads—has been from the enactment by the State legislatures of State-aid laws. I would cite the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York as showing what can be done with a proper State-aid law. The fact remains that there are many States in the United States which do not contain large centers of wealth and population, and to illustrate that point I might add, for instance, that in the State of Massachusetts there is a total assessed valuation of four billions of dollars and there are about 20,000 miles of highway. In other words, there is an assessed valuation of about $200,000 for each mile of public highways, an assessable valuation, whereas in the State of Rhode Island the assessable value is about $200,000 and in New York $150,000. Nevada, for instance, has only an assessed valuation of $600 per mile of highway. In other words, the State of Nevada has only one three-hundredth part of the taxable assets per mile that the State of Massachusetts has. Assuming that one State spread in precisely the same manner as another, it would take the State of Nevada three hundred times as long as the State of Massachusetts to accomplish the result, leaving out entirely the matter of indirect taxes. For instance, in the State of New York the indirect tax, up until a few years ago, covered the entire tax of the State.
At the present time, in 25 States out of the Union—which is considerably more than half-the assessed valuation is less than $10,000 per mile, or one-twentieth of the amount it is in the State of Massachusetts, one fifteenth of the amount in New York State. Without burdening your committee with statistics, as I know you have gathered them from the Director of Public Roads and from your own statistician, I want to say that a casual study of those statistics would convince one that there will never be a connected and properly developed system of highways in many of the States and the United States unless money is received from outside of the State, or unless the cities of the United States contributing toward the expense of construction. Being a resident of New York State, where this sentiment might not be quite as popular as in other States, I would say that the great improvements of New York City are very largely due to the fact that it is on the cheapest route across the continent where it breaks through the Appalachian divide, and the Mohawk River is the lowest crossing of the Appalachian system of the entire breadth, north and south, of the country.
The CHAIRMAN. And it is due to the transportation advantages?
Mr. DIEHL. Yes, sir. The argument I am making is that the cities of the East rely on the natural resources of the West and the central part of the country to properly bear a burden of that expense, and the only way of making a division of the burden of such an expense is by the enactmeent of a Federal highway law of some kind. That would divide the cost of construction between the urban and the rural localities much the same ts it would divide the cost between the city and country, in a county with a large city, by a county-aid law, or with the State and a number of cities by a State-aid law, and our association believes that there should be some form of Federal highway legislation, and we believe it necessary in order to secure that result.
Mr. Austin. What is your proposed Federal legislation that would effect this proposition of yours? Is it for the cities of the east
to furnish the money or to be taxed to meet the extension of road improvement in the Western States?
Mr. Diehl. The proposition is that your committee will, I presume, recommend legislation to Congress. It is to recommend that a certain percentage of the cost of roads be borne by the Federal Government, the tax
of the Federal Government be spreadMr. Austin. You are speaking about the rich cities of the East doing this?
Mr. DIEHL. They bear their share of the Federal tax, which is of course indirect. The Federal tax, being indirect, might be said to be pro rated over the country in proportion to the population, and therefore a large percentage of asl the Federal tax is paid by the great cities where the population concentrates. The one way I have to suggest of taxing cities is to tax them through their contribution to the revenues of the United States, which in turn would pay a share of the cost of highway construction.
The CHAIRMAN. Your presentation is for the purpose of showing the justification on the part of Congress of taking from the general fund appropriations for road improvements?
Mr. DIEHL. Exactly.
The CHAIRMAN. And you base that on the experience you have had in the different States and the policy that has been in vogue in the different States in the way of State aid !
Mr. DIEHL. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Your idea is that we should apply the same principle in Federal aid that has been given by States in State aid ? Mr. DIEHL. That experience has proven wise in the States.
The CHAIRMAN. On what roads would the first Government appropriations, if they were made, be expended?
Mr. DIEHL. That is the next question which I want to present to the committee. If it is conceded that Federal aid is desirable, then immediately the question arises what roads should be improved with Federal money, and there are three principal contentions, as I understand it, amongst the advocates of Federal aid, which are as follows: First, that the expenditure should be spread over 1,000,000 miles of highway, that it should include all the post roads of the United States.
Mr. AUSTIN. Over a million miles, you say?
Mr. DIEHL. Over a million miles. That is one suggestion. I am now going to give the three suggestions and then I will state what our association favors. The second suggestion is that the Government aid should be placed on those roads which lead from the farms to the market, or the main roads that are traversed by the farmer in reaching a shipping point. The mileage of those highways is 10 per cent, approximately, of the total mileage of the United States, or about 200,000. The third suggestion is that the money should be expended on the main trunk lines which connect each State with every other State and which connect all the larger centers of population—which might be termed the national roads. These roads comprise about 17 or 2 per cent of the total mileage of the country, or about from thirty to forty thousand miles. Mr. Austin. One scheme is for how many miles ?
AUSTIN Mr. DIEHL. For a million miles; that covers the post roads. The second is for 200,000 miles, the feeders to the railroads and to the
market. The other is for from thirty to forty thousand miles, the national routes across the country intersecting every State and con: necting all large centers of population. Based upon the discussion of this matter over a period of several years, and, upon the unanimous action by the executive committee, the board of directors, and the conventions which our association has held, we feel that the great danger to this Federal-aid movement is that the Government would be swamped if they undertook to improve too great a mileage in the United States. We feel that what the Government does it should do well; that if it makes contributions it should see that the roads are properly constructed, that the money is economically expended, and that the construction shall be of such form that it will be lasting, durable, and produce the results which it is desirable to produce.
Hr. SHACKLEFORD. The last plan you mentioned, and the one which your association favors, does not contemplate any contribution, does it, for a national road to be constructed and maintained solely by the United States?
Mr. DIEHL. No, sir. I will come to that point later.
The CHAIRMAN. Did I understand you to say you favored the third plan?
Mr. DIEHL. Not yet. I was just coming to that. I will favor that in a moment. Our association feels that spreading the money over this tremendous mileage of the first plan, over all the roads in the United States, could not produce good results, and we feel in regard to the market roads that it is asking the Government to do more than they ought to be called upon to do.
The CHAIRMAN. By “market roads” you mean the 200,000 miles of road?
Mr. DIEHL. The 200,000 miles of road. Let me say at the outset that our association in no way opposes the improvement of the market roads if the United States Government wishes to improve them.
Mr. Austin. They are only opposed to the Shackleford proposition.
Mr. Diehl. We are opposed to that plan and I will discuss that later.
Mr. SHACKLEFORD. Haven't I a circular issued by your department, a letter from some of your officers saying that the National Government should build and maintain these national roads as a national enterprise, and having taken that much burden off of the States and counties that no Federal money should be spent upon any intrastate roads.
Mr. DIEHL. I have been coming to that.
Mr. SHACKLEFORD. I want to ask you now. You say you are not opposed to these other schemes and I want to ask you if you have not said in your circulars that having built these national roads at the expense of the National Government, the National Government ought not be required to go any further and that no Federal money should be used upon any intrastate roads. I would like to ask whether you said that.
Mr. DIEHL. I would like to place in evidence the statement that Mr. Shackleford refers to, to show that his statement is generally correct.
Mr. SHACKLEFORD. I want to know if that is not specifically what
Mr. DIEHL. The statement is what has been said.
Mr. SHACKLEFORD. I want to ask you if your association has not sent out this statement in a circular:
We believe, however, that the Federal Government will have done practically its full duty when it shall have taken over and improved and provided for the maintenance of the great interstate routes, the highways upon which the traffic falls most heavily, and the making and upkeep of which constitutes the greatest item of expense in a State highway system. Relieved of the burden of the interstate routes, every Commonwealth should then provide amply for its intercountry and township roads and would have available a greater amount of money than it could hope for in any ineffective and scattered distribution of Federal funds.
Mr. DIEHL, Mr. Shackleford reads from the statement which I wish to introduce in evidence and, of course, I admit he has read it correctly, and that together with the other statements that are in the circular are what have been indorsed by the association. The qualifying statement which I wish to make is as follows:
That our association does not have the egotism nor the foolishness, if you want to call it that, to come before this committee and say that we know all about this proposition. Neither do we come here to antagonize any number of propositions that have been suggested, but we do say in that statement that we believe that the Government should maintain those interstate highways, such as I have described. We believe that there is a function, in the highway improvement, for the local townships, for the county, for the State, and for the National Government. We believe that the function of the National Government is to improve these 30,000 miles of roads which constitute the backbone or the basis of proper State, county, and town systems. We believe that the function of the State is that it should in turn construct a State system, such as has been done in the State of New York, connecting the various counties in the State, and we believe it is the duty of the county, in cooperation with the State, to construct the main market roads which lead from the farms to the markets and to the shipping points. We do believe it is the duty of the township to construct the rural highways, or the unimproved lateral roads to conect the individual farm with the main market road, or with the roads to the railroads, with the State highway, or with the national roads, as the case may be. We believe that each one of those subdivisions has a definite function to perform.
Mr. AUSTIN. You say 30,000. You have several times said 40,000.
Mr. DIEHL. I refer to 11 to 2 per cent of the milage, which would be from thirty to forty thousand miles. I would say in that connection that while I have worked out maps showing some of these lines, it has not been done with the detail that would naturally be done by competent boards who give their time and attention to the solution of this problem. I would say that the roads which should, in my judgment, be improved by the United States are those roads which are agreed upon by a competent Federal official, or a Federal commission, or whoever has charge of this matter for the Federal Government, and the State highway commissions of the several States.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, cooperation between the two?
Mr. DIEHL. The State highway commission and the Federal Government, through its delegate, should cooperate to select the routes which would be improved by the National Government; and I say, very frankly, that in my opinion and in the opinion of the men of our association we believe that that should not exceed 2 per cent of the mileage in the United States, but we do not object to your building the market roads into citiés.
Mr. SHACKLEFORD. These thirty or forty thousand miles of national highway are to be constructed and maintained solely by the United States?
Mr. DIEHL. I am coming to that a little later, if you will let me take this
up my own way. The CHAIRMAN. Before you proceed I would like to ask this question: Is Federal aid to good roads justified from a standpoint of improved transportation or of increased transportation facilities?
Mr. DIEHL. Both.
The CHAIRMAN. How are you going to get increased transportation facilities if you confine your construction to the present highways, your thirty to forty thousand miles under your classification?
Mr. DIEHL. The experience has been in each one of the States I have cited which has State aid that no road is built by the States, but that it induces the counties and townships to likewise build county and township systems which will be connected up with the State systems. There never has been a road built, for instance, across New York State that the people who did not live on the road have not insisted that the county connect them up with the State road, and in turn the township connect up with the county roads. To illustrate that point a little more clearly, you gentlemen are probably aware that in 1905 the people of the State of New York adopted a $50,000,000 bond issue at the general election. At the last general election another $50,000,000 bond issue was up, and that carried with it an amendment to the constitution that $20,000,000 of that issue should be expended upon State roads which were built and maintained solely at the expense of the State.
Mr. AUSTIN. You mean the county roads?
Mr. DIEHL. No, sir. The State roads which are built and maintained solely at the expense of the State. There are many, many townships in the State of New York which would touch a State highway. It further provided that $30,000,000 of that sum should be expended on county roads, which are roads built jointly by the State and the county. There are many localities which are not intersected by county roads, and thus there are many localities in the State of New York which are not touched by any roads that are built under this proposed $50,000,000 bond issue, yet in spite of that fact, as an argument showing that that backbone system actually benefits everybody in the State, there was not a county in the State of New York that did not vote in favor of that $50,000,000 referendum, by an increased vote which they gave over the vote in 1905 for the first bond issue.
The CHAIRMAN. At the first bond issue was there any difference as to what percentage was to be spent on the State and county roads?
Mr. DIEHL. No, sir; at the first bond issue there was no State highway construction, and I am glad you asked that question,