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PASSENGER SERVICE Continued 8. The Commission made a forthright contribution to the rail passenger situation when we sent a comprehensive report to Congress in 1968 outlining it, and, asking that a study be made to seek answers to this perplexing problem. We agreed to participate in the study, but we lack the resources to do it without congressional implementation. The cost study mentioned earlier is a preliminary step which I hope will be followed by the study we recommended.
As I indicated above, the intent of Congress in this area is set forth in section 13a and that is to effectuate the discontinuance of unused passenger service. The decline of rail service is serious and in recognition of this, we proposed action which I hope will lead to a solution.
9. The prevention of destructive competition is an important aspect of our regulatory responsibility. However, it is not the only one. At page 88 of the report, we say the "regulations proposed in the interim report contain certain provisions looking toward the maintenance of adequate service at points on the existing service routes to which the superhighway routes are appurtenant." The bus riding public has an interest in improved operations over superhighways as well as the carriers. The public also has an interest in continued operations over other highways. Though these regulations are only tentative, our statement indicates the public interest in these matters is being fully considered.
Commissioner Dale W. Hard in
1. The railroad intercity passenger cost study will be completed in the very near future. The study was instituted in response to a request from Senator Magnuson. It is based on a survey of noncommuter traffic of eight major railroads to determine what their savings would have been if they had not provided such service during the year 1968. It will not, therefore, be of significance in individual discontinuance cases which deal with particular trains. Since the factual situation in each section 13a discontinuance proceeding differs widely, such proceedings are not susceptible to decision by the application of a formula. They must be decided on the basis of the record made in each case.
2. While it is altogether possible that small towns, private organizations or States may find it burdensome to resist successive proposals to discontinue the same train, the statute provides that the Commission many require continued operation for a maximum of one year. The burden, however, does not appear to be any greater than that experienced by shippers, ports, State utilities commissions, chambers of commerce, or other groups in protesting proposed rate changes. In discontinuance cases the hearing officer does direct questions to the various witnesses to assure the development of pertinent facts. He also directs the production of relevant evidence for the record. In addition, it should be point out that the Commission's rules governing train discontinuance proceedings require the filing of a great deal of relevant data along with the discontinuance notice, such as financial results of the operation of the subject trains, the carriers' income statements and balance sheets, traffic studies, and alternate transportation available.
3. The California Zephyr operates over the routes of three railroads. Under the statute, each of the carriers is free to file notice of proposed discontinuance over its segment independently and at different times. If the carriers involved were to file notice at or about the same time, the hearings and/or the records could be consolidated. However, in view of the four-month statutory time limitation in such proceedings, if each of the involved carriers should file its notice a month or so after the other, separate hearings would, of course, be necessary. The hearing records of the respective proceedings could not be combined since one or more of them would still be incomplete.
4. While the Commission has, in a number of section 13a discontinuance cases, admonished the carrier for deliberately downgrading service to discourage patronage and required continued operation of the subject trains, the Commission has, up to this time, found that it has no jurisdiction over the quality of passenger train service. This is one of the basic issues in the so-called Adequacies case (Docket No. 34733, Adequacies—Passenger Service-Southern Pacific Company between California and Louisiana) now pending before the Commission. Therefore, unless it is found that the Commission does have jurisdiction over the quality of passenger service, an independent investigation by the Commission would serve no purpose since it would have no authority to require corrective action, and it has no way of knowing, in advance, whether the carrier will, in fact, again file notice of proposed discontinuance of the same trains. If the carrier should file again, I would agree that an independent investigation, to the extent
PASSENGER SERVICE-Continued the Commission's field forces and appropriations permit, would be desirable and helpful. It is also my view, however, that the States and other interested parties should conduct similar investigations and their findings, tested on the record, would be as significant as an investigation conducted by the Commission.
5. The Commission has already prescribed rules governing the form, style and content of the notice of proposed discontinuance. See 49 CFR 1122.3 and 1122.4. These rules are, in my opinion, clear and meaningful. The notices that have come to my attention are in accordance with those rules and do not appear to be misleading. The reaction is, of course, subjective. If, however, there appears to be a consensus that the notices are misleading, I would certainly favor appropriate modifications of the rules.
6. The issues involved in Docket No. 34733, Adequacies—Passenger ServiceSouthern Pacific Company between California and Louisiana, in which the examiner has made his findings and recommendations, are exceedingly difficult and complex, Oral argument has been held before the entire Commission in this proceeding and it has been receiving active consideration for a number of months. In view of the difficulties involved, I am not prepared to say at this time just when the Commission's report will be issued.
7. As to whether the Commission should have previously evaluated, on its own motion, the examiner's recommendations in the so-called Adequacies case, it should be pointed out that in a series of decisions rendered over a number of years the Commission held that it had no jurisdiction over the quality of passenger train service. The very act of instituting this proceeding represents a willingness on the part of the Commission to reevaluate its position in this area. The examiner's recommendations are, of course, themselves a part of the proceeding and not separate and apart therefrom.
8. The basic policy with respect to rail passenger service was set by the Congress in 1958, and is embodied in section 13a. The Commission in administering the provisions of section 13a has in its annual reports to Congress repeatedly called attention to the decline of intercity rail passenger service. As recently as last year in a special report to the House and Senate commerce committees, the Commission again called the deteriorating situation to the attention of Congress and recommended immediate enactment of what might well be termed certain bold remedial legislation as a stop-gap measure and the enactment of other legislation looking toward long-range solutions of the problem. The Commission's deep concern over the decline of rail passenger service is further evidenced by its investigation as far back as 1951 in the Railroad Passenger Train Deficit case, 306 I.C.C. 417. There the Commission made nine specific recommendations for action by the Congress, Federal departments and agencies, State and local governments, and railroad management.
9. The Commission, in its interim report in Motor Service on Interstate Highways—Passengers, did not, in my opinion, give undue consideration to the “destructive competition" concept and neglect to consider service to the public.
The Commission's primary concerr in this proceeding is to assure that all members of the public will be adequately served. As you are aware, the Interstate Highway System links major population centers by modern highways that avoid lesser population centers. The Commission seeks in the subject proceeding to balance two conflicting but legitimate desires on the part of the public. Those interested in service between major population centers seek through, or, in some instances, non-stop service. Those persons located at points bypassed by the Interstate Highway System seek assurance of continued service.
I am confident that the Commission in its final report will do everything possible to reconcile these apparent conflicts, and, at the same time, allow the carriers to enjoy the benefits flowing from utilization of the Interstate Highway System.
Cases handled on own motion—May 1967 to June 1969 Suspended
2 Not suspended nor investigated -
37 Cancelled prior to effective date..
20 Tariff publications rejected...
199 496761 49862. 49851. 497601 49760 49740. 495261 49675. 49676 49651. 49622 49537. 49538. 49539. 49540 49541.
49512 49493. 49486 49461. 49449. 49425 49417. 49368 49369. 49370. 49371 49296_ 49306. 49267. 49268 49205. 491251 490851 49158. 49161. 49160.
49135. 490531 49125 49126. 49127 49128 49131 49132. 49053. 488482
June 17, 1969 1&S M-23121, sub 1.
do. No suspend.
do. No suspend.
..do. No suspend.
469891 471501 47128 47129. 47111 47112 46963 2. 46963 469636 469341 47120. 47121. 47076. 48087 469634 47046 47047 469631 47014. 47015 46859 463211 46388. 46389 45396. 46148 46257 46238 45977. 45986. 45894. 45903 457681 458167 45830 456691 45794. 45712. 45710. 45669 45660 45661 45603 45581. 45570 45571. 454011 454401 45551. 45552 45520. 45521. 45522: 45528. 45503. 45508 452691 452694 45476. 45450. 45462 45401. 45403. 45404. 45405. 451944 451251 45322 45324. 45276. 45277. 45278. 451941 45268 45269 45192 45193 45105 45041.
Mar. 26, 1968 SP to cancel.
do. No suspend.
Do. Feb. 18, 1968 1&S 8395, sub 1). Apr. 5, 1968 Canceled statutory notice. Feb. 10, 1968 1&S 8396. Mar. 4, 1968 SP to cancel. Feb. 18, 1968 1&S M-22063. Feb. 5, 1968 1&S M-22022, sub 2. Mar. 1, 1968 1&S M-22095. Mar. 5, 1968 1&S M-22110. Feb. 1, 1968 1&S M-22022, sub 1. Feb. 16, 1968 No suspend. do..
.do. 1&S M-21612, sub 1.
do. 1&S M-21464, sub 1.
SP to cancel.
do....... SP to cancel.
do. 1&S M-21471.
do. 1&S M-21429.
do SP to cancel. May 1, 1967 No suspend. May 17, 1967. SP to cancel.
48963 48964 48888 48885 487931 48785 48788 48777 48714 486371 486363 48607. 483491 483494 480221 48062 47889. 47840. 47825. 47744. 47707 47677 47685 47519 475191 474791_ 47342 1 47456. 47395. 47401
1 1st supplemental. 2 3d supplemental. 3 Investigation.
+2d supplemental. 6 4th supplemental. 6 5th supplemental.
WERE TO BE CONSIDERED ON OWN MOTION BUT WERE EITHER PROTESTED OR CARRIERS DECIDED TO CANCEL
WHEN INFORMED WE WERE CONSIDERING QUESTION OF SUSPENSION
45041 Canceled under special permit..
May 17, 1967
Report of Basic Policy Matters Under Consideration by the
Interstate Commerce Commission
In his letter of May 16, 1969, to Chairman Brown, Senator Vance Hartke, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation of the Senate Commerce Committee, requested the Commission to prepare and transmit to the Subcommittee a report concerning “the basic policy posture of the Interstate Commerce Commission”, such report to be considered in connection with hearings before the Subcommittee on June 24 and 25, 1969. Among other things, the Commission was requested to report on the conduct of its affairs and its general condition together with any thoughts it might have for revising its concepts and approach to transportation problems and for streamlining its functions. In addition, the Subcommittee requested the Commission to focus on a number of specific transportation regulatory issues such as intermodal transportation, railroad passenger service, deregulation, small shipments, and carrier mergers and diversification. The report which follows is pursuant to the Subcommittee's request.
The report is divided into three major chapters. Chapter I is a general overview of the Commission's organizational structure, its budget and staff, and its general condition. Chapter II covers the several specific matters raised in Senator Hartke's letter while Chapter III is concerned with a number of additional areas which although not specifically mentioned in Senator Hartke's letter, we believe involve sufficiently important policy issues and problems to warrant bringing them to the attention of the Subcommittee. Many of these areas are ones in which the Congress has, in the past, evidenced a direct and continuing interest. In view of our extensive testimony before the Subcommittee, on May 13, 1969, on the freight car shortage problem and the incentive per diem law and the transmittal, on June 1, 1969, of our subsequent report and recommendations for action in this area, consideration of this major policy issue has not been included in this report.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
As the Subcommittee is aware, we prepared and submitted two prior reports to you on basic policy issues confronting the Commission, the first in 1966, for the year 1965, the second in 1967 for the year 1966. Therefore, except where essential for clarity of discussion, the present report is concerned with matters arising during the years 1967-1969.
In each of the major subject matter areas covered in this report, it has been our intent to describe briefly certain major developments and the policy issues and problems connected with them.
In general, we believe that we have discharged our basic responsibilities within the statutory authority delegated to us by the Congress in as fair and responsible a manner as is consistent with the requirements of law, orderly and efficient administration, and the limitations imposed upon us with respect to budget and staff resources. In connection with this last item, we have discussed the present and prospective limitations on our resources in detail in Chapter I. Our staff will decrease to around 1700 at the end of this fiscal year while our budget has barely kept pace with increases in payroll and other unavoidable expenses in each fiscal year. Although the Commission has taken many steps to reduce its expenses through streamlining its functions and the adoption of modern management practices, further substantial savings in this area cannot be expected except at the expense of certain important regulatory functions. We, therefore, believe that this situation cannot continue and must receive positive consideration by the Congress. We fully recognize that, in a time of inflation and the present tight budgetary posture, any increase in our resources must be measured against national needs and priorities. At the same time, we would point out, as have many outside commentaries on the Commission and other regulatory agencies, that, as an arm of the Congress, we cannot properly fulfil the mission entrusted to us without adequate monetary and staff resources.