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The original bill reads, “ who will give the largest percentage per annum of the gross receipts derived from the operation of said rail. road or railway." After the words "gross receipts” the present bill substitutes the words of said company or corporationfor the words “ derived from the operation of said railroad or railway.”

The objection to this change is that a “company or corporation might lease its railroad to some other corporation for a nominal sum and thus relieve itself from paying any percentage on gross receipts from operation, but pay such percentage only on the nominal sum for which it is leased, thus defeating the prime object of the act.

It is a very serious objection to the bill that its language in this important respect is so ambiguous as to permit any such question to be raised.

4th. The fourth modification is the substitution of the words fulfillment of suid agreementfor “ payment of such percentage.” The extension of the scope of the bond is of course unobjectionable but is probably of little practical value.

5th. The fifth modification provides that the security given, which in the original bill is for the payment of the percentage of gross earnings only, shall also be “for the commencement and completion of such road according to the plan or plans and on the route or routes fixed for its construction within the time or times hereinafter designated and prescribed therefor."

6th. The sixth modification erases the words, "provided, that in cities having a population of 250,000 or more, such percentage shall in no case be less than three per centum per annum of such gross receipts for and during the period of the first five years of the operation of any portion of said railroad or railway and five per centum per annum of such gross receipts after the expiration of five years," and substitute therefor the words, “but this agreement shall not release any such road from the percentages required to be paid by chapter 252 of the Laws of 1884." It may be argued that the words substituted are intended to amend the original act so as to more clearly provide that the amount bid at auction for the franchise shall not relieve the purchasing company from also paying annually the percentages of the earnings required to be paid under section 8 of chapter 252 of the Laws of 1884.

To subject railroads to a double payment would probably check rail. road construction and extension where needed.

7th. The seventh modification is an amendment as follows: 6 The local authorities of any city or village may give such consent to any applicant therefor duly incorporated and existing under the laws of this State for the purpose of providing street railroad facilities for compensation in said city or village; and the bidder to which such consent may be sold shall be an incorporated railroad or railway company organized to construct, maintain and operate a street railroad in the city or village for which such consent may be given."

The Board sees no good reason why the bidders should be restricted in the manner provided in the bill. It would result practically in restricting the bids to one or two bidders at the most, instead of giving the city the benefit of the widest competition and best price for its franchise.

8th. The eighth modification is an addition of the words, "except in cities where two daily papers are not published, then said notices shall be published at least once a week for at least three weeks successively in a newspaper published in said city, to be designated by the mayor. The effect of the amendment is simply that if there are not two newspapers in which to publish the notice it shall be published in one. It appears to be unimportant.

9th. The ninth modification is an amendment as follows :

The comptroller, or other chief fiscal officer of the cities, and the president of the board of trustees in villages, shall attend and conduct the sale to be made under the provisions of this act, and may adjourn the same from time to time, not exceeding twice, for a period not exceeding four weeks in the aggregate, and may cancel the bid if the bidder shall not furnish satisfactory security, and sell the said consent and license in the same manner as above provided. The bidder or bidders to whom the said consent or license shall be sold, shall commence the construction of the said road within one year, and complete the same within three years from the date of sale. The said bidder who may build and operate said railroad shall at all times keep accurate books of account of the business and earnings of such railroad, which books shall at all times be subject to the inspection of the local authorities of the city or village ; and in the event of the failure or refusal of the party or corporation operating or using the railroad to be con. structed as aforesaid, to pay the rental or percentage of gross earnings agreed upon, then upon notice to the said party or corporation — of not less than sixty days — the said consent and right to operate such railroad may be declared for. feited, and the same may be resold to the highest bidder in the manner above prosided. Such forfeiture may be decreed or ordered by the judgment of any court having jurisdiction, after the party or corporation shall have opportunity to be heard in their defense.

This amendment defines in detail what local authorities shall conduct the sale, and the method that shall be pursued.

The amendment is not essential, inasmuch as section three of the original act provides that the “security required by section one of this act shall be a bond or undertaking in writing or under seal, in such form, condition, amount and sureties as shall be required and approved by the mayor and common council of any such city and by the trustees of any such village."

The powers specifically conferred in the proposed act are impliedly given in the original act. The entire destruction of all flexibility on the part of the local authorities might prove very embarrassing, and the Board is of the opinion that the proposed amendment is not an improvement.

10th. The tenth modification is the addition of the words by such local authoritiesafter the words “this act shall apply to all applications for consents.” It appears to be of no consequence whatever.

11th. The eleventh modification strikes out the following words, “and also to applications upon which such local authorities have finally acted, but which have not at that time been made final by the consent of the owners of a sufficient proportion of the property situated upon the line of the proposed railroad or railway or by the approval of the general term of the Supreme Court,” and adds in lieu thereof the following words:

“And all consents hereafter given by said local authorities shall cease and determine at the expiration of two years thereafter, and all such consents heretofore giren shall cease and determine at the expiration of two years from the date of the passage of this act, unless prior to the expiration of such period or periods the consent of the owners of a sufficient proportion of the property situated on the line of the proposed railroad or railway or the approval of the general term

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of the Supreme Court shall have been obtained. None of the provisions of this act or of chapter 65 of the Laws of 1880, except the provisions of this section in relation to the determination of the consents of said local authorities, shall apply to companies nou organized or hereafter to be organized for the purpose of building elevated railroads in counties having less than 1,000,000 inhabitants, nor to street surface railroad companies heretofore organized in cities or villages of less than 40,000 inhabitants."

It is claimed, among other things, that this amendment is designed to relieve certain New York roads, such as the proposed Thirty-fourth street line, from the operation of the Cantor bill; whereas it is urgently insisted that such proposed roads ought to be subject to the bill.

Unless some specific reasons, at present unknown to this Board, exist, why such exemption should be made, this is true, and the proposed amendment is not in this respect wise.

The amendments here proposed with regard to the termination of the consents are probably pot essential for the reason that section 4 of the general street railroad act provides that "any consent so given by said local authorities shall cease and determine at the expiration of one year thereafter, unless prior to the expiration of such period the company obtaining such consent shall have filed the consent of the requisite amount in value of property owners or the determination of commissioners confirmed by the court, as herein provided."

The time ought not to be extended from one to two years as proposed; at least until it is demonstated by experience that one year is too short a time.

There appears to be no necessity for exempting from the provisions of this act, or of the original act, elevated railroads now or hereafter to be organized and built in counties having less than 1,000,000 inhabitants, nor street surface railroads heretofore organized in cities or villages of less than 40,000 inhabitants.

If such exemption of corporations heretofore organized is wise, the act ought as well to have been made applicable to such corporations hereafter organized in small cities and villages.

12th. The twelfth modification substitutes for the mayor and common council a single officer, namely, the “comptroller or other chief fiscal officer” as the local authority to approve of the bond to be given for the payment of the percentage of gross earnings.

The Board does not deem this amendment to be of much importance, although perhaps an improvement to some extent.

13th. The thirteenth modification exempts the New York Arcade Railway Company from the provisions of the act, for what reason the Board is in ignorance.

14th. The fourteenth modification is an addition of the probably superfluous words " and all acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.”

CONCLUSION. For the above reasons the Board is of the opinion that the advantages to be gained from the proposed act are on the whole of slight value, and are more than overbalanced by the serious objections thereto and the troublesome questions of law raised thereby.

By the Board.
WILLIAM C. HUDSON,

Secretary.

COMPLAINTS

OF CITIES, TOWNS, ASSOCIATIONS, INDIVIDUALS, ETC.

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1

LAWRENCE A. SNEDEN V. THE NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK

RAILROAD COMPANY.

October 7, 1885. This was a complaint against the “incessant and reckless” blowing of a locomotive whistle on the New Jersey and New York railroad at Spring Valley, N. Y., at five o'clock in the morning, with “a total disregard of every thing but the convenience, or the whim, of the railroad."

The answer of the road was that the whistle had been blown for ten years at five o'clock in the morning, except for a few days when it was discontinued, at the request of the complainant, four years previous to the date of the complaint. The original object of blowing was to awaken the trainmen.

The discontinuance of the blowing met with a great deal of opposition from the people of the village, especially from the commuters to New York who had come to depend upon it for waking them. It was, therefore, as the company viewed it

, a question between disobliging one person on one side, and an entire community upon the other. The company expressed its readiness to abide by any determination the Board might make in the matter.

A protest signed by two hundred and fifty residents of the village against the discontinuance of the blowing was filed with the Board.

To this the complainant replied that if he should as earnestly circulate a petition for the discontinuance of the blowing of the whistle as that of the protest had been by the railroad men, he could get a larger number of signatures. He also asserted that the alleged nuisance had increased in duration, and the engine was now brought in the morning directly opposite his house.

Under this conflict of statements, and desirous of meeting the wishes of both interests, the Board suggested to the company that at five o'clock in the morning the engine be taken up the road some distance in a northerly direction and blow two blasts of fifteen seconds. This the company did, and the complainant expressed himself satisfied with

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the result.

II.

TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE or WHITESTONE Y. THE WHITESTONE AND WESTCHESTER RAILROAD COMPANY.

October 24, 1885. The trustees of the village of Whitestone complained to the Board that the bridges across the cut made by the Whitestone and Westchester Railroad Company in that village had become dangerous to travel ; that the one at Eleventh avenue had become so dangerous that it had been closed by the trustees, due notice of which had been given the representatives of the company and notice taken thereof.

The facts were found to be as stated, but inquiry developed that the railroad

company had failed to do more than grade the road and that it had long since been abandoned; that at the time the inquiry was made proceedings on the part of the bondholders for foreclosure were pending; that the trustee of the bondholders had no money of the road in his hands; and that no one seemed to be responsible for the company, as it was defunct.

These facts being communicated to the trustees of the village, they withdrew their complaint.

III.

GEORGE H. LITTLEWOOD v. THE DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA AND WES

TERN RAILROAD COMPANY.

November 16, 1885. The complainant, a patron of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad Company at Lisle station, complained to the Board that he had been discriminated against in the matter of the delivery of coal in that by reason of unjust discrimination in the prices of the coal of that company he had been compelled to purchase Lehigh Valley coal, which had been shipped to him in two box cars of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company, and consigned to the complainant at Lisle, arriving at which place the agent of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company at Lisle, demanded $51.88 for hauling the two cars from Binghamton to Lisle, a distance of twenty-three miles, and refused to deliver without pre-payment of the charge and did not until he paid the charge, which he did, under protest. The complainant averred that twenty dollars would have been an ample charge.

Before answer was made by the company, the complainant addressed a request to the Board to hold the complaint in abeyance for twenty days, stating that the officials of the company had promised to redress his grievance. Subsequently he formally withdrew the complaint.

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