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In 1895 a law was passed that, under certain restrictions, county commissioners, upon request, should be supplied by the commonwealth with such steam rollers, crushers and other road machines as the Com-. mission may deem necessary.
In 1896 the Highway Commission was given certain powers with reference to the use of state roads by the street railways.
The year 1900 was marked by a new movement in the line of aid by the state for road improvement in localities, in what is known as the Small Town Act, providing that five per cent. of the amount appropriated each year for the construction and repair of state highways shall be expended under the direction of the Commission in towns in which no state highway has been built. Such improved roads should remain town highways and the amount expended in any town should not exceed forty per cent. of its average appropriations for highway purposes for the preceding five years. At a later session, the legislature provided that in “small towns" aid should be given in towns in which no state highway exists and whose valuation does not exceed one million dollars to the amount of five per cent. of the amount appropriated each year by the state for road construction and repair, and that an additional five per cent. should be expended in towns with a valuation exceeding one million dollars, when such towns appropriate an amount equal to the amount allotted to such town by the Commission. In 1900 the annual salary of the Commissioners was increased to three thousand five hundred dollars for the chairman of the board and two thousand five hundred dollars for each of the other members.
By an act of the legislature in 1903, amended in 1905, the Massachsetts Highway Commission was given authority and jurisdiction as to registration, and other matters relative to the use of automobiles and motor cycles on the highways of the state. Provision was made in the appropriation for office expenses, resulting from the increased work connected with the auto law, amounting to seven hitousand dollars for the year 1905. The revenue to the state from this law is about fifty thousand dollars.
I have not noted the increased appropriations by the legislature each year, but the tables below give the growth of the work of the department.
1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903
8,000 300,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 414,300 528,500 528,500 533,750 533,750 523,950
14,300 28,500 28.500 33,750 33,750 33,950
* Included in state aid.
The footing of total does not include the nine hundred thousand dollars for state aid for 1906 and 1907, but indicates the total appropriations from 1892 to 1905, inclusive. State aid for 1903 to 1907, inclusive, was provided for by an appropriation in 1903 of two million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for five years.
The growth of the field work is indicated by the following table. Miles constructed under appropriation, not necessarily constructed in year specified, the table only indicates miles constructed, under the appro priations made by the legislature in the year named. 1892
The views of the Commissioners as to the benefit from road improvement is indicated in the following quotations from the report for 1901:
"EFFECT OF STATE ROADS ON PROPERTY VALU'ES." "Do State roads increase the value of abutting property ? is a question often asked of the Commission. As a partial answer, it can be said that information has been received from distant parts of the state setting forth the fact that certain farm lands which were on the market for some years, without a customer, were sold shortly after the completion of the State road, and at prices above what they had been offered for. As there are neither steam nor electric railways within several miles of some of the pieces of property referred to, it is fair to assume that the judgment of the local informants, who attributed the sale and the rise in price to the State road, is correct.”
“Although it is difficult to obtain direct evidence as to rise in the value of property, there is no lack of testimony as to the value of the roads to the users of them. From all parts of the state reports have been received which clearly show a material reduction in time between given points, a decrease in the number of horses on certain stage, mail and milk routes, and large increase in loads with the same number of horses. These results surely mean that the social conditions are improved, the cost of maintaining regular lines of transportation by highway is reduced, and the product of farms and isolated manufactories are moved in a manner to increase the margin of profit."
“Real property is subject to the same laws, whether it be urban, suburban or rural. Its market value is regulated by its earning capacity, its nearness to beautiful or picturesque scenery, and still further by its religious, educational and social opportunities. A rise in value may follow an improvement of any one of these conditions, but it must follow a betterment of all. The Commission is confident that the case is not misstated when it says that wherever a State road has been begun, a betternent along the lines suggested will follow its completion.”
The following quotations from an article by Mr. McClintock are taken from the transactions of the American Society Civil Engineers, Vol. LIV:
“Two or three years after the State road work began, some of the towns began to profit by the object lesson, and raised money to build the same kind of road. Year after year different towns have taken up
the work, some of them without, but most of them with the advice of the Commission. Up to the present time, there have been built and paid for by the towns, about 650 miles of first-class roads. This kind of work is increasing each year."
"L'p to the present time there have been built 604 miles of State roads. There are continuous State roads, 20 miles in length; State and improved town roads, 50 miles in length; and of these last two, with some short pieces to be filled in, 75 miles in length. Reports from those parts of the state where the improved roads are show an increase in the ruber of people at seashore and mountain resorts; enhanced value of real property; larger loads or a less number of horses and a marked reduction in the time upon the road, both for business and pleasure.”
"Massachusetts fas already built about 604 miles of State roads, and expended about $5.780,900 for building and repairs. The net cost to the staie, after deducting the county repayments, is $4,200,000. These roads are built and repaired by the state. The money is obtained by issuing bonds. running thirty years. The bonds are cared for by a sinking fund, and there has been paid out on account of these bonds an average of $37.000 per year. The counties pay back to the state one-fourth of all amounts expended by the state, both for construction and repairs, the amount so returned being $1,400,000. Thus it will be seen that each taxpayer in the state pays, first, on account of the state and, second, on account of the county."
State Highway Commissioner,
CHARLES W. GATES.
By resolution 322, approved November 22, 1892, the General Assembly of the State of Vermont authorized the Governor of the state to appoint a suitable Commission, whose duty it should be to make an examination of the highway system of the state, and to make such report as in their judgment may be deemed expedient to the next legislature. The resolution appropriated one hundred dollars for the expenses of the Commission and provided for the printing of their report at the expense of the state.
The Commission, consisting of Geo. W. Hooker, J. W. Votey and O. L. Hinds, made the required report to the legislature of 1894 in the form of a pamphlet of one hundred and eleven pages. It treated of the highway system of the state, road materials and construction, wide tires and highway legislation. Local conditions in various parts of the state, statistics and road machinery, were treated of in a number of appendices.
The road mileage of Vermont was stated to be fourteen thousand six hundred and fifty-nine miles, and the expenditure thereon for the preceding ten years, four million dollars, or about two hundred and seventy dollars per mile. It was added that, "A large proportion of the highway tax of this state is expended in repairing damage done to hill roads by storm waters," and the statement made that the roads of Vermont are greatly improved since a law enacted in 1892 went into effect, requiring taxes paid in money instead of labor, and putting roads of towns in charge of one man instead of several.
The legislature of 1894, by an act approved November 27th of that year, continued the Highway Commission and made it a duty of the board to investigate modern methods of road building, advise county boards and report to the legislature of 1896.
In compliance with these requirements of the enactment, the Com- . mission visited each county of the state and thoroughly investigated conditions throughout the state and attended road meetings of local road commissioners.
In their report to the legislature of 1896, they recommended that the state highway tax be laid out as before by the local commissioners, but under the direction of the State Commission; that any town, on failure to expend state tax, as the law directs, should forfeit its share thereof the ensuing year; that road machinery should be used more largely; that the State Highway Commission should be permanently established as being an absolute necessity to the future progress of road improvement. The report embodied a large amount of local information and statistics. In 1896 no new enactments were made, but in 1898 the Governor was directed, by legislative enactment, to appoint, with the advice and consent of the senate, a State Highway Commissioner, whose term should be two years, who should have supervision through the town commissioners, of the expenditure of all state appropriations for highway improvement. Any unexpended money of the state highway tax that remained at the end of any year was to be carried over and added to the monies raised the following year.
The act provided that the State Highway Commissioner should receive four dollars per day and traveling expenses, together with necessary stationery, postage and other contingent expenses.
The state tax referred to as to be expended to the approval of the State Commission in the first place, and subsequently to that of the State Commissioner, was a uniform levy of five cents on the dollar of the "grand list." The funds arising from such tax were distributed to localities in proportion to their road mileage. The "grand list” mentioned above is one per cent. of the assessed value of all property within the state, so that the tax referred to is a tax, on property liable, to the amount of one-twentieth of one per cent.
• There is an abundance of road building material in Vermont; limestone on the western part and rock boulders, gravel and volcanics east, yet it is not considered feasible to construct a system of macadam roads in the state. “ist. The money necessary to build such roads would be hard to get by legislative authority, with the present system of representation, inasmuch as few, if any, of the towns most needing aid would be immediately benefited by any system of roads built, while at the same time being taxed for building roads in other towns; end. The cost of maintaining that class of roads in our climate would be burdensome; 3rd. The traffic is neither heavy nor constant enough to warrant the building of such roads.” “It seems probable that the present plan of building in permanent manner the bad places on the main roads, is as good for the state and the towns as can be devised at present." So says State Highway Commissioner Sanford, October, 1902.
In 1901, the state tax amounted to eighty-eight thousand six hundred and twenty-one dollars; in 1902, eighty-nine thousand five hundred and seven dollars; in 1903, ninety thousand three hundred and twentynine dollars; in 1904, to ninety-one thousand seven hundred and ninetyfive dollars.
Four plans for road construction were adopted by Ex-Commissioner Sanford. First -On roads having naturally a good foundation. The road after being guttered and shouldered was surfaced with gravel, applied in well compacted layers, using ten inches of gravel to form a well crowned road. Second - On roads with troublesome clay or quicksand, there is provided a telford foundation for a six-inch covering of gravel. Third — On roads requiring greater elevation, the excavation resorted to in the second class is omitted and the foundation raised. Fourth - On roads requiring such treatment, a V-shaped foundation of coarse gravel and small stones is used, serving both as a foundation and as a drain, after the manner of the Massachusetts plan.
At the University of Vermont, located at Burlington, Prof. J. W. Votey has charge of the laboratory for testing road materials.
Reference is made above to local road commissioners in whose charge is the expenditure upon the roads, of the state funds subject to the approval of the State Highway Commissioner. It is proper to state here that the local road commissioners in the cities are appointed by the Aldermen, who are the legislative powers therein. The road commissioners of incorporated towns are appointed by the selectmen, and the road commissioners of unincorporated towns are chosen by the people. The road commissioners of the towns in a county constitute the County Boards of Road Commissioners.
To further understand conditions in Vermont, that are so essentially different from those in Ohio, it is proper to explain that there are certain sections of the state called “gores,” which in Ohio would be called unorganized townships, that have neither inhabitants nor taxable property, because there is no land nor any other property therein that has an appreciable or marketable value.