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eventual municipal ownership while obtaining a more immediate municipal control; but important as the proper development of this shore front as a marine terminal is, a careful survey of the uplands and back lands in this section of Brooklyn discloses possibilities of industrial development of such vast proportions and importance, if provided with proper transportation facilities connecting it with the water front, as to make it imperative that any plan should provide such needed facilities in a very comprehensive way. Indeed it might safely be said that if ample and efficient freight transportation to and from and along the water front is supplied to the back lands available for industrial development, the construction of piers and facilities for water-borne commerce could safely be depended upon to follow as a necessary corollary, and would, without doubt, be provided by private enterprise and means, if not by the city.
The most important fundamental step, therefore, in the judgment of your committee, and the one which will control and best co-ordinate all other features in this section, is the construction of a continuous freight terminal railroad between the Brooklyn Bridge and Bay Ridge, serving both piers and adjoining uplands, and by a connection at Sixty-third Street with the yards of the Pennsylvania-Long Island-New York Connecting Railway, give access and service to large sections of back lands and through rail connection to all New England territory.
Two railways are now operated by private owners in this section of the South Brooklyn water front, and while such a city owned system could be constructed without embracing these existing railways, it is to be considered that they are the enterprises of individuals who were pioneers in the territory and established their business after hazarding the risks that must be met by every new development. They are, therefore, plainly entitled to impartial and full consideration in any city plan. .
There would seem to be many reasons why ultimately it would be as advantageous to those private interests as to the city to be included in this plan rather than to remain as independent units liable to be duplicated by a municipal road.
The fact that under the Terminal Act, Chapter 776, Laws of 1911, the city is prohibited from earning more than interest and amortization on the investment is in itself a matter of concern to the existing individual enterprises, but it is hoped and believed that the city and the private interests involved are now approaching this matter in a spirit fair to both the public and private interests.
The construction of such a Terminal Railway will probably dominate future development of not only the water front but the upland to an increasing extent and its attainment is of prime importance. :
Recognizing these facts the latest plans prepared and submitted by the Commissioner of Docks ignores for the time being any proposals as to the purchase or construction of wharves or terminal warehouses, and is confined exclusively to a physical plan for the construction of such proposed terminal railway.
This plan with some modifications and amendments has been ap: proved by the Select Committee of the Board of Estimate dealing with terminal and harbor developments, and the Board of Estimate has referred its proposed amendinents to the Commissioner of Docks with authority to adopt a plan for such municipal terminal railroad.
When a final agreement as to the exact physical features of the plan has been arrived at between the Dock Department and the Board of Estimate, the certification of the plan by the Board will then finalize this proposal and definitely commit the city to it.
It is to be hoped that this conclusion may now be reached very promptly.
Your committee has also been giving very careful consideration to the method by which such a terminal railroad should be operated in order to best conserve the interests of the city's trade and commerce, and its very great interest in stimulating the development by private enterprise of the uplands and back lands which will so largely contribute to the city's advantage by the increase of taxable values of property which such industrial development would produce, and the consequent growth in population.
While there are examples on our Continent of such municipal terminal railroads being operated, as is done in Montreal, by special Commissions created for the purpose, it seems to be generally agreed that we have not yet reached a point in municipal evolution where it would be desirable or wise to undertake municipal operation of such a terminal as is here contemplated.
On the other hand your committee has felt strongly that if perfect confidence is to be created in the minds of property owners, as well as those planning manufactories and industrial developments, that a uniform and equal service will always be assured to everyone, the Corporation operating such a road should be as broadly representative of all interests as possible, as well as always under effectual municipal control.
It is apparent that the city officials recognize the great importance of this question, and a notable evidence wbich may be considered an epoch in our municipal evolution, was the invitation extended by the Select Committee of the Board of Estimate to all the large private interests owning properties on this section of the water front and to all the trunk line railroads having termini about New York Harbor, to meet in a conference for the discussion of the plans and priniciples of operation of this terminal road, with the view of determining whether a joint operating terminal company could be organized in which all or the major part of these interests might be represented to make an operating proposal to the city.
It is certainly a unique and significant indication of an intelligent desire to co-ordinate general civic interests with those of private enterprise when a great municipality proposes to furnish capital for a great terminal development, voluntarily restricting itself to a return no larger than interest and amortization, and reserving to itself the right to accept a lesser return even, in case of need, to establish such an improvement, and then offer to place the operation of a road built on such terms at the disposal of the railroads and other private interests in the district.
The conference was held at the Chamber of Commerce on Monday, the 16th December, and was one of the most representative meetings of the great transportation interests that has ever been gathered together in this city.
By invitation of the Committee of the Board of Estimate this meeting was called to order by the Chairman of your Committee on the Harbor and Shipping, and after an extremely interesting and serious discussion of the problems to be considered, a permanent organization was effected among the delegates represented, and sub-committees appointed to go into the question in all its details.
If a satisfactory plan can be worked out for such a terminal operating company it will give a confident assurance to all directly or indirectly interested in the development of this section of our city and of its general trade and commerce that such a proposed municipal development will redound to the greatest possible advantage.
Your committee feels that perhaps there has seldom been before the City of New York and this Chamber any proposition fraught with such great significance and capable of establishing so profound a precedent in the commercial development of the city as this plan for construction and operation which has been here discussed. Therefore, your committee offers the following preambles and resolutions :
Whereas, The Commissioner of Docks has submitted a plan for a municipal terminal freight railroad along the water front from Brooklyn Bridge to Bay Ridge; and
Whereas, The Board of Estimate and Apportionment, with some modifications, has adopted and has authorized the Commissioner of Docks to adopt this plan; and
Whereas, The question of providing proper terminals and obtaining funds on reasonable terms with which to do so is admittedly one of the greatest problems before the railroads of this country to-day; and
Whereas, The proposal of the city to build at municipal expense, and therefore at a lower cost for capital and amortization than private enterprise could obtain, a municipal terminal freight railroad, thereby facilitating a solution which will contribute alike to the development and growth in value of city and private property and of the trade and commerce of the port, and at the same time develop greatly increased tonnage for the railroads and steamships serving this territory ; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New
York heartily endorses the principle of a municipal freight terminal railroad as referred to in the plan of the Commissioner of Docks and the Board of Estimate, and urges their prompt certification ;
Resolved. That the Chamber recognizes in this proposal a principle and precedent which when brought to a successful conclusion is likely to, and may well be, but a foundation and beginning for the further application of co-operation between municipal and private enterprise, not only in this city, but generally throughout the country;
Resolved, That this Chamber approves the endeavor of the city authorities to provide a method of operation so broadly representative of all interests that the best results from this enterprise may always be obtained, and urges transportation and other interests which have been invited to co-operate to give the most earnest and careful consideration not only to the details of this specific terminal, but to the great fundamental principles involved, and to use their best endeavors to co-operate in a spirit which may create a precedent of lasting benefit to the community and the country; and be it further
Resolved, That copies of this report be sent to the Mayor, the members of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, the Commissioner of Docks, and to the representatives of all private interests and transportation lines which were represented at the couference held in this Chamber on December 16th.
E. H. OUTERBRIDGE,
Committee on the
NEW YORK, December 20, 1912.
THE PRESIDENT.—Gentlemen, you have heard the very interesting and instructive report of the Chairman of the Committee on the Harbor and Shipping. Any one who is familiar with the portion of Brooklyn which might be reached by tbis railroad will appreciate the immense possibilities that have been indicated in the report of MR. OUTERBRIDGE.
The report and accompanying preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted.
Mr. OUTERBRIDGE.—There has been introduced in Congress by Governor SULZER a bill known as the Sulzer Bill with reference to the extention of pierhead lines. This Chamber at its meeting in June approved the report of the Committee on the Harbor and Ship ping relative to that question. The matter is now the subject of public hearings by a Committee of the House in Washington, I believe, next week; and as the Chamber has already expressed its opinion on the advisability and necessity of such lengthening of pierhead lines, I would like to ask for authority for the Committee on the Harbor and Sbipping to be represented there.
The authority asked for was unanimously granted.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LEGISLATION. EDMUND Dwight, Chairman of the Special Committee on Workmen's Compensation Legislation, presented the following report, and moved its adoption :
To the Chamber of Commerce :
The Special Committee on Workmen's Compensation Legislation, appointed under the terms of the action taken at the meeting of October 3, 1912, submits to the Chamber the following report:
The committee have concluded that the demand for a sound Workmen's Compensation Law in the State of New York may be regarded as universal. They also feel that the advantage of a just law recognizing the principle of Workmen's Compensation, and having due regard for the interests of the three classes affected, viz: the employer, the employe and the consumer, is universally admitted.
The committee have, therefore, confined themselves to a consideration of the kind of law which will best safeguard the interests of these tbree classes of the community, and in order to avoid a protracted discussion, they recommend to the Chamber the following broadly stated general declarations as, in their judgment, expressing the most important of the principles involved :
(1.) The Act should be compulsory for both employer and employe as soon as the change in the constitution of this or other states will permit it, and where an Act is passed in advance of such constitutional changes it should be optional in the same manner as in the New Jersey Law.
(2.) The remedies under the Act should be exclusive remedies. (3.) The Act should cover all classes of employment.
(4.) The benefits to be conferred by the Act should be just and equitable in amount, but not so large as to defeat the purpose of the