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THE PRESIDENT.—Gentlemen, you have heard the excellent report of the Executive Committee in regard to the question of the expenditure of the great sum of $50,000,000 upon the highways of the state. It seems almost incredible that it should be possible that this sum might be largely wasted, and that there is unfortunately danger that it may be wasted. Every local community will doubtless pull for a part of it no matter whether it is part of a comprehensive system or not, and there is also danger, as has been indicated here, that instead of building excellent road which would be as nearly permanent as anything could be within the limits of the appropriation, there may be built three or four times as much road, imperfectly, and then five or ten or fifteen years hence we shall find that we have nothing but a debt of $50,000,000, no advantage having accrued from the vast expenditure.
REMARKS OF WILLARD V. KING, ESQ.
WILLARD V. KING.—Mr. President. Would it be in order to ask whether the committee has made any recommendation for the maintenance of those roads in up-keep from year to year? I think it is a matter of common observation that roads in this state are splendidly built and in a year or two years little defects crop out, which if remedied promptly as they are discovered would amount to nothing at all, but a little hole in a month becomes in three months a large hole, and a possible abyss in a year. Now, it occurs to me that the proper legislation should provide for the retention by the state of a certain proportion of these bonds for the purpose of the up-keep of these highways based upon the engineers' estimates.
THE PRESIDENT.—It would seem to the Chair very appropriate that such action should be taken. I do not know whether the Act provides only for the construction of the road and nothing for their maintenance, but I am much afraid that the act as passed only provides for construction. That, however, is a matter that the Committee on Internal Trade and Improvements would doubtless be glad to take up and in its recommendations it could cover the point.
REMARKS OF MAURICE L. MUHLEMAN, ESQ.
MAURICE L. MUHLEMAN.—I would remind the members of the Chamber that the state is about to expend a second sum of $50,000,000. We have already borrowed $50,000,000 and we are going to expend another $50,000,000 which will make $100,000,000 for this purpose.
The report was unanimously adopted.
EUGENIUS H. OUTERBRIDGE, Chairman of the Committee on the Harbor and Shipping presented the following report and moved its adoption :
To the Chamber of Commerce :
Senate Bill 1500, Introductory No. 1287, introduced by Mr. CULLEN and Assembly No. 1918, Introductory 1699, introduced by MR. WALKER amend Chapter 776 of the laws of 1911 entitled
" An Act to Improve the Waterfront facilities of the City of New York in relation to the receipt, delivery and shipment of freight.”
Many of the amendments proposed in this Measure relate to definitions or verbal changes with which your committee is not concerned.
There are, however, radical changes which your committee deems a grave departure from previous policy of the city and which is likely to be fraught with serious results to the interests of the Trade and Commerce of the Port.
For instance, the Bill practically constitutes the Board of Estimate a new Board of Terminal Facilities, extending its present powers of review of all projects so as to enable it to at once take the initiative and charge of all details or projects. In other words, the Bill in effect practically appropriates the functions of the Commissioner of Docks, who, under our present Charter, is an appointee of the Mayor, and makes the office of Dock Commissioner merely a clerk of the Board of Estimate.
This not only reduces the office of Dock Commissioner to a subordinate one of little power or initiative, but in effect withdraws that Department from the direct control of the Mayor, and therefore, in a measure subordinates the Mayor as well as his appointee to the Board of Estimate.
Your committee believes that this would be a fatal mistake.
Firstly, because it would be more than ever difficult for a Mayor to find a man of suitable ability and qualifications to take an office so stripped of its present powers and opportunities.
Secondly, the responsibility for initiative and policy in Harbor developments would rest in the Board of Estimate composed of officials whose time is, and must always be, largely absorbed in the administrative functions of their other departments, and who cannot be expected, and would not have the time, to devote constantly to a study of the changing and increasing needs of the Harbor, and the constantly changing and increasing developments in other ports competing with us for business, a condition which would inevitably lead to great delays in approaching the subject of our needs and in determining upon Harbor Works.
Thirdly, because of their many obligations and duties the members of the Board of Estimate are much less approachable to the citizens and civic bodies continually interested and constantly at work upon these problems.
Ample evidence of these facts has been had in the several years which have passed before the Terminal Committee of the Board of Estimate could find time to take up the consideration of the various problems which have been pressing for settlement.
There are other features of the Bill which do not commend themselves to your committee, notably that which eliminates from existing law the restrictions imposed upon the return that the city may obtain upon capital which it invests in terminal facilities. This is now limited to interest and amortization after proper
deductions are made for expense of operation, repairs, renewals and depreciation.
Expunging this provision entirely from the present law extinguishes the principle that such developments shall be for the benefit of trade and commerce at the lowest cost, which seems to
way ploiting the trade and commerce of the port for profit, a possibility which would very likely be availed of under the unceasing pressure for increase of expenditure in conducting the city's affairs.
Your committee, therefore, offers the following preamble and resolutions :
Whereas, It is of prime importance to the interests of the trade and commerce of this port, as of the state and nation, that there should continue to be a duly qualified head to the Department of Docks, giving his exclusive time to the study of the problems which have to be met as the changes and evolutions in business and in other ports make advisable, and who shall at all times be available to the citizens and civic bodies devoting study and attention to these questions for conference and advice; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York deprecates and disapproves those proposed amendments in Senate Bill 1500 and Assembly Bill 1918, which would take from the office of Commissioner of Docks the initiative, functions and prerogatives now pertaining thereto and vest them in the Board of Estimate.
Resolved, That this Chamber urges the Committee on Affairs of Cities in the Senate and the Committee on Railroads in the Assembly to strike out such amendments, and further, to preserve the interests of the Port by not disturbing that provision in existing law which
limits the return which the city may obtain upon its investments in Terminal facilities.
MR. OUTERBRIDGE, for the same committee, also offered the following report and moved its adoption :
To the Chamber of Commerce :
There are now pending in the Senate and Assembly two Bills known as the POLLOCK-EISNER Bills (Senate 1449–50, Assembly 1902–1929,) whose purpose is to remove the restrictions that the lands under water opposite and parallel to Riverside Park shall be used only for park purposes and to permit their use for commercial purposes.
It is proposed to effect this by transferring the control from the Park Department to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
Chapter 152 of the Laws of 1894 sets aside all lands under water fronting Riverside Park, with the exception of certain areas specifically reserved for commercial purposes, as a part or extension of that park, the purpose being to preserve the water front of Riverside Park from commercial development.
An area of property in the neighborhood considered to have been benefitted by the creation of a park was assessed for the park site and its improvements, and the restrictions in the law pledged the faith of the city and state to the maintenance of this portion of the waterfront exclusively for park purposes and the valuations upon which assessments were laid were based upon that principle.
The proposed readjustment of the tracks of the New York Central Railroad in and along the Riverside Park contemplate extending the railroad occupation of a portion, and the property owners and residents in that section seem to have grave cause to fear that if the control of the park lands be diverted as proposed, commercial developments along this section may follow, with the creation of unsightly structures and the inevitable accompaniment of noise and intensive commercial traffic that would follow such uses.
Your committee believes that the property owners and their successors in ownership are entitled to preservation from any threatened danger of this character, and your committee, therefore, offers the following resolutions :
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York believes that the passage of the POLLOCK-EISNER Bills and the transfer from the control of the Park Department of the lands under water bordering Riverside Park would jeopardize the rights of the property owners intended to be secured to them by Chapter 152 of the Laws of 1894, and respectfully urges the Legislature that these Bills be not passed.
Resolved, That a copy of this report and these resolutions be mailed to the Chairman of the respective Committees in the Senate and the Assembly, to the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate and the Mayor of New York City.
MORTIMER L. SCHIFF, on behalf of the Committee on Finance and Currency, presented the following report and moved its adoption:
To the Chamber of Commerce :
The Committee on Finance and Currency has carefully considered Assembly Bill No. 1865, introduced by Mr. GOLDBERG, which amends the Stock Corporation Law in relation to the supervision of investment companies.
This bill has been passed by the Assembly and is now before the Senate. It would create a State Securities Board, consisting of the