Page images
PDF
EPUB

Gasoline consumption in the fiscal year 1947 has not increased as we anticipated it would. However, in line with our thoughts that there would be an increase in gasoline consumption annually as additional cars would be put into use, we have for the fiscal year 1948 based our estimate upon 165,000,000 gallons, and in our forecast for the future, have allowed for an annual increase of 5,000,000 gallons

for the year.

Such an annual increase is consistent with what may be expected from a study of the past records.

In order to meet our matching requirements of the three post war years, we have accumulated a balance in the fund for the years 1945 and 1946, so that we have a total availability for 1947 of $8,367,829, against an expenditure now authorized by Congress of $7,706,000 plus $134,300 deficiency, a total of $7,840,300.

This will probably illustrate to you better the way gasoline consumption goes, which, of course, is the basis for our estimates, fiscal years 1938 to 1918.

This little dotted line on 1947 indicates where we will go in 1947 if the nresent rate during the first 8 months of the year is kept up.

One hundred and forty-five million instead of where it is drawn at one hundred and sixty million in the forecast based on 1948.

It is illustrated here, the growth each year, a forecast of 5,000,000 gallons a year. You will see by this growth that it is consistent when we run regularly on the other chart.

To further illustrate how this money is divided between the various expenses, we have prepared this chart, which is broken down to show the amount that goes to major capital outlay and State and Bridge Division, the amount that goes to minor, the amount of operating expenses, the amount of Metropolitan Police, the amount of vehicle and trailic, the amount of miscellaneous expenses.

Mr. Bares. Mr. Whitehust, before you put that chart down, the Metropolitan Police is 10.05 percent. What is that used for?

Mr. WHITEHURST. For the control of traffic.

Mr. Bates. In other words, the expenditures for salaries of police officers doing traffic work is chargeable to “Highway”?

Mr. WHITEHURST. The law states not to exceed 15 percent of the pay and allowances of the Metropolitan Police Force may be paid from the highway fund.

Mr. BATES. They are members of the Police Department?
Mr. WHITEHURST. Yes, sir; uniform force.

Mr. BATEs. Yes. And the salaries are paid from the highway fund?

Mr. WHITEHURST. That portion of it.
Mr. BATEs. That 10 percent?
Mr. WHITEHURST. That amout.
Mr. BATES. Out of those funds?

Mr. WHITEHURST. That is transferred to the Police Department appropriation.

Senator Caix. You have probably never used your limitation of 15 percent?

Mr. WHITEHURST. It is nearer in the 1948 budget than it ever has been.

Senator Cax. 10.05 ?

99538--47-4

Mr. WHITEHURST. No; 10.05 is the percentage of the total highway Federal appropriation in those years.

Senator CAIN. Yes.

Mr. WHITEHURST. But it has been running from 13, around, and it ran as low as 12.5 and as high as 14.6.

Mr. Bates. Having in mind the expenditures being made for police services, is there any similarity between the allocation of funds from the highway fund here in the District or in any other city of the country, that you know of, where funds are not directly appropriated to the Police Department whose work includes that of traffic, patrolling streets and the like, and what was the basic reason?

Mr. WHITEHURST. In the States, Mr. Bates, the State police force operates the highways. The highway patrol is a part of the highway department of the States, and they pay for it. The latest figure is not to exceed that.

Mr. BATEs. Your police here do not operate on what we call the State highways. They patrol traffic.

Mr. WHITEHURST. 'They operate in connection with traffic, however, and the way we arrived at that was this, in the basic law: We figured out for the House committee upon the testimony of the Superintendent of Police, that he had at that time a need for 186 police officers in what was known as the Traffic Branch of the Police Department. Those 186 cfficers were a certain percentage of the total force.

I have the figures over here.

But so as not to complicate it and bring it all in the allied activities of the Police Department, we translated that into what it would be as to the total possible appropriation at that time. The figure was 14.7, so the committee wrote into the bill, "not to exceed 15 percent".

It was very scientifically worked out, I think, and very fairly worked out.

In order to meet our matching requirements of the three post war years, we have accumulated a balance in the fund for the years 1915 and 1946, so that we have a total availability for 1917 of $8,367,829, against an expenditure now authorized by Congress of $7,706,000 plus $131,300 deficiency, a total of $7,840,300. Provided there are no further supplemental appropriations chargeable to 1947, we would go into 1918 with a balance of $527,500 from this fund to be added to the anticipated revenue.

So that, summarizing the situation for 1918, without the increase in the gas-tax rate, estimated receipts in revenue for the year have been placed at $6,964,000. This, plus an estimate from lapsed balances of $152,256 and new balances from 1947 of $327,500 would provide a revenue availability for the year of $7,673,756. The balance anticipated from 1947 has been reduced due to deficiency appropriations of $131,300 recently made by Congress as a result of Public Law 390, of which $109,000 is for increase in amount allocated to the Metropolitan Police for traffic control and the balance to the Office of Director of Vehicles and Traffic, both entirely the result of salary increases. So without an increase in the gas tax the total availability of $7,673,756 would fall short $1,536,544 to meet the estimated requirements presented to the Congress by the Commissioners of $.),210,300. With the 1-cent increase, estimating a return on the initial year of $1,500,000, the apparent deficit imder existing conditions could be substantially met. This same situation will be present in fiscal year 1949, even holding the fixed operation and maintenance expenses at the 1948 estimated line and providing for minor capital improvements in the same amount in 1949 as is contemplated in 1948. In other words, in the 2-year period unless the gas tax is increased 1 cent the fund would fall short by approximately $3,000,000 in meeting the requirements.

The justifications for increases in the various component parts of the estimate in 1948 over 1947 are present in two simple statements: (1) To take care of increases in salaries and wages as authorized in the first case by Congress and ordered by the Commissioners in the case of per diem employees consistent with the increases Congress authorized for annual employees, and (2) the increases have only partially compensated for the increased cost of work.

Opponents of the increase in the gas tax have suggested that work be deferred, due to the shortage in manpower and materials. There has not been any apparent manpower shortage in the District, either in our own forces or those of contractors who are undertaking work for the District. Materials have been hard to obtain and they take a long time to secure; however, we do not subscribe to a defeatist attitude that this country is not going to produce the necessary materials to carry on needed public and other construction work. Adjustments will take a little time and there will be delays incident to construction but if we do not prepare ourselves now and have authority to proceed, the delay will only be greater and then intolerable conditions of congestion and hazards in connection with traffic will continue even longer.

The gasoline tax is the user's tax, not in any sense a sales tax as some have endeavored to imply. We believe that the user's impost for this purpose should be consistent with highway needs, and that is what we have attempted to advocate, that the revenue so raised should be used exclusively for highway purposes, and that the tax should be limited to the highway users ability to pay. We cannot speak for the users in determining what taxes they should pay. Nor can any industry or other group. The decision is squarely up to the people themselves who pay the bill. In every State the issue rests with the highway users and the public. In this connection, it is interesting to record that at the Commissioners' public hearing on the proposed increase in the gas tax rate, generally speaking, those representative of users endorsed the increase, while those representative of industry, the producers and vendors, opposed the increase. Motor-vehicle transportation is here to stay, the sooner we realize it the better, and the sooner we take control of the situation and provide better and safer facilities, the less it will cost us. The amazing thing about highway transportation and control of the highways is, that the very users are not only willing to pay for facilities and service but anxious to do so. This is not so amazing after all, it is just good sound judgment. The user knows that expeditious travel with safety pays dividends, while congestion and potential hazards are a liability, and he pays in the end anyway.

Now, considering the four categories that we have talked about; namely, fixed expenses, operation and maintenance, minor capital, and major capital, in preparing our budget every year we have first set up the fixed expenses; because the law requires it. The amount of those fixed expenses is dependent upon what the Commissioners allow for the Office of the Director of Vehicles and Traffic, Trees and Parking, and a percentage formula for the Police Department. Then we come to the highways, and the first item we put in is operation and maintenance-self-preservation first. The next is minor capital improvements, which include local paving, lepaving, curb and gutter work, condemnation, channelization, grading, and other things that are of a local character, that recur year after year in the development and growth of a city.

At this point I should say that there is an enormous backlog of this local work due to having performed little or nothing along this line during the war years. And the vormal growth of the city, plus our nonperformance, has made a very critical situation.

We should also realize that the highway dollar is not the same dollar that we talked about in 1940. Our bids are running around an increase of 40 to 60 percent. It is not applicable to a local situation; it is general throughout the country. In fact, our bids have been much lower proportionately when compared to 1940 bids than the bids have been in a great many other jurisdictions.

At least a major portion of that increase is with us to stay. So when we speak today of having $200,000 for local paring, we are speaking of a considerably smaller amount of local paving than $200,000 would have provided in 1940.

As we see the picture, in order to meet the situation with which we are confronted, there must be an increase in the revenue side of the highway fund. The Commissioners, after considering all of the matters, approved the 1-cent increase in the gas tax, among other things which I will touch upon later.

I do want to say this, in connection with what has been talked about so much, as to the post war highway fund, the postwar program: Congress, in 194, passed the Federal-aid highway bill, the act of 1944. Withcut going into the details of the workings of this act, it is sufficient to say that it was set up for three post war years, and at the time of the passage of the act the 3 years were then not named. The first year would be either the year ending June 30, following the end of the war, or, by appropriate resolution of Congress, determination would be made for the purposes of this act as to what the first post war year was. The District, in anticipation of matching $2.974,000 for each of these years, included in the 1946 act, which I remind you was started July 1, 1945, the sum of $1,600,000 as part of its first-year matching fund.

Congress, by appropriate resolution, in October 1945, declared that the first postwar year ended June 30, 1946. I may add, so as to clarify it, that with each succeeding July, the allocations were made to the States, including the District of Columbia, for the second--and this coming Juy it will be for the third-postwar year. So that, so far as postwar years are concerned, under the terms of this act the first postwar year is the fiscal year 1946; the second post war year is the fiscal year 1947; and the third postwar pear is the fiscal year 1948.

However, under the terms of the act, the funds allocated for each postwar year remain available for an additional year. Therefore,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

these funds would expire, unless taken up by the States, on June 30, 1949.

Having set aside our first money, $1,600,000 in the 1946 bill, on anticipation that sometime during that year the war would be declared over for the purposes of that act and we would have funds to proceed with the postwar program and protect our allocation, in 1947 we included $1,400,000 to complete the first post war year. We also included $800,000 as a start on the second postwar year. We are including the 1918 estimates $2,125,000, which will complete the second post war year matching fund. We contemplate carrying in the 1919 estimates $2,890,000.

Now, these figures are not exactly the same as the $2,974,000 for the reason that there are two grade-crossing projects in the 100-percent grants, which we do not have to match. So that our matching fund has run from 1946 and will run through 1949.

To meet the fixed expenses, the operating expenses, and minor improvements in 1949, in substantially the same amounts as we have proposed for 1948, will leave us only enough money, with the 1-cent increase included, to match our Federal-aid obligation in 1949, which is the last year that we have to match, unless a new bill or new legislation is later passed.

That is our immediate problem for the fiscal years 1948 and 1949. We have never advocate any increase until we were prepared to justify such an increase on need. This post war highway program has been extensively publicized. All of the items came from our 1941 intensive research report, which was approved by the Commissioners and others. The post war program, as set up, has been approved by the Public Roads Administration, and it is our obligation to meet it.

Now, if the 1-cent increase is not made, we can't touch the fixed expenses, because the law requires us to meet them. We can't touch the operation and maintenance expenses, because self-preservation is the first law of nature. The minor capital improvements are the improvements that are so far behind and come with the growth of a city, and the residents of Washington are entitled to them. Some of them are of important nature, although classified as minor improvements. Some involve drainage. And I might say also that the question of pavement replacement, on which we took a holiday during the war, has created a very serious drain upon our maintenance funds. It is natural to assume that the pavements that are to be replaced are the worst ones that we have. And they are the ones that we are dribbling our maintenance money away on, because we have been unable to replace them. I wish it had been possible in the 19-18 estimates to lave provided or asked for twice as much money for pavement replacement as we have included in that. Again I remind you that the collar is not going quite as far as it did.

Then we have only left the major capital items. Certainly we are not going to fail to put up the $2.125,000 for the second post war year or the $2,890,000 for the third post war year in 1949. We are, in effect, a year behind, but not so far behind that we have jeopardized our position. That just is not good business, because when we put 1p $2,125,000 we have another $2,125,000 tacked onto it. That leaves lis with one item, the South Capitol Street Bridge, and this is the money that will be necessary for the bridge in 1948 and is a large part of tha

« PreviousContinue »