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The settlement of claims for lands has proceeded rapidly. Fully one half of the claims outstanding a year ago against the Metropolitan Parks Loan, that is, for the reservations, has been adjusted, leaving claims outstanding to an estimated amount of $300,000; while all but five claims, amounting to $4,000, against the Nantasket Beach loan, have been adjusted.

The commission called attention last year to a probable deficiency in the Metropolitan Parks Loan, Series 2, in providing for the balance of claims outstanding against that loan. This has proved to be the case. The amount which now appears likely to be required to meet the deficiency is $450,000.

No part of the loans advanced by the Commonwealth for metropolitan park purposes, now amounting to $9,067,500, has been refunded by the cities and towns which compose the district. The apportionment made in the year 1900 by a special commission appointed by the supreme judicial court is still under review by the court, and until an apportionment has been approved and the district has begun to reimburse the Commonwealth for the loans advanced I recommend that no new work should be authorized by the general court.

For each of the last three years, by authority of the general court, the governor and council have fixed the compensation of the members of the metropolitan park commission. Instead of providing for the salaries of the commissioners annually I recommend legislation to establish them on a permanent basis.

GRADE CROSSINGS.

The abolition of crossings at the same level of our steam railroads and our streets and public ways is an important matter, as affecting the safety, convenience and economy of the operation of railroads, and of the use of the streets and public ways. The general law of 1890, by which the policy of the state in respect to the abolition of grade crossings was first established, has practically ceased to be operative. The five millions of dollars, appropriated by that act to defray the proportion of the expense of the abolition of such crossings payable by the Commonwealth and the municipalities, will be all spent in work which has been ordered by decrees of court and special acts of the legislature.

Under the act of 1890 there has been expended:

By the Commonwealth, for itself and municipalities, $4,749,736 66 By the railroad companies,

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12,976,017 60

Under special acts requiring the abolition of grade crossings, passed since 1890, there has been expended :

By the Commonwealth, for itself and municipalities, . $2,728,084 28 By the railroad companies,

Total amount expended by the Commonwealth, for itself and municipalities,

Total amount expended by railroad companies,.

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6,062,409 48

7,477,820 94 19,038,427 08

I am of the opinion that the further operation of the general law for the abolition of grade crossings should be secured by an appropriation for that purpose, and I therefore recommend an appropriation of $5,000,000, to be expended, at the rate of not more than $500,000 in any one year, by the Commonwealth, for the abolition of grade crossings of railroads and public ways. I think however this appropriation should be made in such a form that it may be expended with due regard to the relative interests of all sections of the Commonwealth, not only in respect to the amount which is to be expended in each year, but in respect to the localities where it is to be expended. To secure this some public officers should be authorized to decide upon what crossings the expense should be incurred. This duty may properly be discharged by the board of railroad commissioners.

It seems to be equitable that the street railways having lines upon crossings to be abolished should be required to make a proper contribution to the expense of abolition, and should be allowed to petition for the abolition of such crossings. These railway companies have, under the existing law, a tenure which is practically secure in the streets which they occupy. Their locations cannot be revoked by the municipal authorities except for good and sufficient reasons, to be stated in the order of revocation, and upon the approval of the board of railroad commissioners, after public notice and hearing.

The legislature of 1900 directed the board of railroad commissioners to consider the matter of requiring street railway companies to pay some portion of the cost of the abolition of grade crossings, and to report their view upon that subject to the legislature of the year 1901. The

commissioners reported that, in their judgment, it would be equitable to require such contribution to be made, but that the amount of it ought to be determined in each case by the special commission appointed to consider the abolition of the crossing.

It may well be considered however whether the street railway company should not have the right to ask that its percentage of contribution, as fixed by the special commissioners, be revised by the superior court. This would be an additional safeguard to the street railway companies against an undue assessment; and if the provision giving that right of revision were properly guarded, it would, in my judgment, be wise.

The contribution of the street railway company must affect the exact proportions in which the cost of abolition is distributed among the railroad, the city or town, and the Commonwealth, under the general law of 1890. In view of the special and direct benefits received by the other contributing parties, and the less important and less direct interest of the Commonwealth in the removal of these crossings, and in view of the fact that in lessening the expense to the Commonwealth, provision is made for the abolition of a larger number of grade crossings, I recommend that the amount contributed by the street railway company be deducted from the twenty-five per cent which would otherwise be paid by the Commonwealth.

I see no reason why the percentage already established as the contribution of the railroad companies should be increased, nor, on the other hand, why the contribution of the street railway companies should be so applied as to cause them to pay less.

CARE OF THE INSANE.

The insane in the public institutions of the Commonwealth numbered on Oct. 1, 1901, 7,790; of this number 3,779 were men and 4,011 women. On the corresponding date of 1900 the total number was 7,411, showing an increase of 373 for the year. This was somewhat larger than the annual increase for the previous five years.

The general court last year made appropriations to provide for additions to the present insane hospital buildings, to take care of the overcrowding and the natural increase.

These additions will be completed during the current year, and will afford accommodations for 632 patients.

The board of insanity will this year recommend that appropriations be made to provide accommodations for an increase of 475 patients. In this recommendation I

concur.

The site for the state colony for the insane, authorized under chapter 451 of the acts of 1900, has been selected in the towns of Gardner and Westminster. The state board of insanity has purchased 1,500 acres of land, well adapted for the purpose, which have passed into the control of a board of trustees having powers and functions similar to those exercised by the trustees of other state institutions. Under their direction work will immediately begin at the colony, in order that a few patients may be received early in the coming spring. The milder insane of the chronic class will be gradually transferred thither from the hospitals, to the number of about 100 a year for the present. This will be the first step in the development of a system of colony care for the chronic insane, which will be extended gradually in connection with existing hospitals and asylums so far as possible, and in other directions according to the claims of locality.

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

The latest school returns received by the state board of education show that the number of pupils of all ages enrolled in the public schools the preceding school year was 469,188; in private schools, 82,325. Of 334,913 persons returned by the school census as coming within the compulsory age limits of seven and fourteen years, 87 per cent were included in the public school enrolment; the rest, with few exceptions, in the private school enrolment.

The total expenditure by the Commonwealth and municipalities for the public schools was $14,179,947, of which $11,134,934 was for support and $3,045,013 for school buildings. The cost for each child in the average membership of the public schools was $34.91. The taxation burden for each $1,000 of the state's total valuation was $4.66. Upon comparing these figures with those of the preceding year it appears that, while the schooling of each child has increased somewhat in cost, such in

creased cost, in consequence of the increase in valuation, has made a reduced draft on each $1,000 of the total assessed property of the state.

Upon the public schools more than upon any other public agency depends the welfare of the Commonwealth. Their contribution to this welfare justifies the large sums annually expended upon them.

SUPERVISION OF PUBLIC REPORTS.

The public documents printed by the Commonwealth have increased so rapidly, both in numbers and in size, that it is desirable to consider whether the material they contain may not be presented in a more condensed form without impairing its value. These publications, to be of the greatest usefulness, should be simple, comprehensive and brief. In order to promote these ends I recommend that a board of publication be established, to be composed of three state officials, to be appointed by the governor and council, who shall serve without additional compensation and shall have clearly defined advisory and supervisory power regarding the scope and size of all public reports.

Sections 10 and 11 of chapter 107 of the Revised Laws, providing for the establishment of a board of statistics, have never been operative, and I recommend their repeal.

BOSTON HARBOR.

The general court of 1901 provided for the construction of the necessary anchorage facilities in Boston harbor, and during the year the board of harbor and land commissioners has received leases of all property interests in the location selected, and is now about to begin the work of construction.

The work on the main channel in Boston harbor has been continued by the general government, and there is now a channel twenty-seven feet deep at mean low water from the wharves to the sea, but its width is restricted at the Upper Middle by ledges which were uncovered during the dredging.

The necessity for increasing the size and depth of the main ship channel is very great. An earnest effort should be made to impress upon Congress the need of legislation

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