United States. Congress. Senate. Special Committee.

Post-war economic policy and planning. Joint hearings before the special committees on post-war economic policy and planning, Congress of the United States, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, pursuant to S. Res. 102 and H. Res. 408, resolutions creating special committees on post-war economic (unit 6) online

. (page 18 of 49)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Special CommitteePost-war economic policy and planning. Joint hearings before the special committees on post-war economic policy and planning, Congress of the United States, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, pursuant to S. Res. 102 and H. Res. 408, resolutions creating special committees on post-war economic (unit 6) → online text (page 18 of 49)
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in mind, but more particularly with respect to the broad principle as
to whether or not you v^'ill be able to carry out those projects, either
with or without Federal aid.

Mr. Bush. I sa}^ it is a matter of financing the program.

The Chairman. It is a question not only of financing but also a
question of stimulating the planning in the first instance, and then
perhaps, if the occasion requires, to finance it later on either by direct
grants or by long- or short-term loans.

Having already received the opinion of the people from the large
cities, we are now trying to learn tlie opinion of those from the rural
communities as to whether or not they can carry out their proposed
planning with or without Federal aid.

Mr. Bush. Well, now, Mr. Chairman, may I refer you to Mr. Shipp's
opinion on that same question, which was stated very clearly.

The Chairman. If you will adopt Mr. Shipp's opinion, that is fine.

Mr. Bush. I completely agree and concur in what Mr. Shipp said
on that point as to the financing of these projects. You will recall
that Mr. Shipp also said there should be a fund available somewhere
now to do this planning. I might say in that connection that a great
deal of work has been done in Orange County by the Orange County
Planning Board, and we have all of the basic material available upon
which definite and detailed plans can be made. It is a question of
where the funds are coming from for the making of those detailed
plans and specifications.


Mr. Sheridan, who preceded me, expressed it as simply creating a
reservoir. You may have a reservoir and you need a certain body
of water. When the emergency comes and you have a fire, you have
to draw a kjt more water than under ordinary conditions. We should
be prepared to meet it.

The Chaikman. Let me say that you and I agree 100 percent.

Dr. Kaplan has a few questions he would like to ask you.

Dr. Kaplan. May I ask Mr. Bush whether his OAvn section has taken
full advantage of the matching privileges of the State, how far he
feels his community has gone, and whether he wants grants beyond
that, or is it true that the community has not yet taken full advan-
tage of the matching opportunities in the State arrangements with
is municipalities?

Mr. Bush. I should say, so far as our county is concerned, the mu-
nicipalities — and I am now referring to cities and villages — have sub-
mitted preliminary plans, and in some cases completed plans, to the
State planning commission, who has asked for plans concerning
projects which these municipalities have in mind and wish to complete.

Now, I have done just that work, as village engineer, and made up a
set of plans for various types of projects which have been submitted
to the State. As I understood it, at this time, the State would bear a
certain cost of it — 2 percent, or some such figure — the total not to exceed
4 percent of the cost of construction. This, in my opinion, is too low.

The Chairman. It ought to be 6 percent in any event.

Mr. Bush. No suitable set of plans in detail, and I am speaking
now as an engineer, can be made for 4 percent on small jobs say, jobs
ranging from $50,000 to $60,000 or $100,000. It cannot be done for 4
percent and be adequate to serve the purpose.

Dr. Kaplan. You are giving us the information that the matching
arrangement which the State has is insufficient to justify you in going
forward with the planning?

Mr. Bush. Well, we have gone forward so far. That is up to date.
But whether more money will be available for plans, I could not say. I
do not know. But, we have done the original work.

If money is not made available by the State, then, in my opinion,
it should be made available by the Federal Government; say to the
State, so that the State can distribute it to the municipalities through-
out the State.

I am not so much concerned as to who is going to furnish the money,
as that it should be furnished from some source and made available
where it will throw the least burden on the communities.

Mr. Taft. May I just add one word, Mr. Chairman?

The Chairman. Yes.

Mr. Taft. In reference to the questions just asked Mr. Bush, there
are some exceptions regarding the type of work for which the State
will pay part of the cost for the survey and plans and estimates. One
exception is the railroad crossing. Also, those State funds, as I
understand it, are only available for villages and municipalities,
whereas the open country areas cannot avail themselves of those things.

Now for instance, in our county, as I stated earlier, there are 60,000
of the people who are urban and 80,000 rural. All the projects that
would apply to the 80,000 rural people would be exempt from State


The Chairman. When you say that you do not get any aid from the
State, you mean outside of the mcorporated villages?

Mr. Taft. That is right, because under the laws, as I understand
it, it has to be prepared and presented by a corporate body. They
pay half of the cost of the preliminary plans and estmiates, and the
State pays the other half, up to a total of 2 percent. In other words,
as Mr. Bush said, 4 percent is all that is allowed. Our village has
presented plans to the State and they have received their money. But
outside of the village, the rest of the town can do nothing.

The Chairman. Now, with respect to gra^le crossings, doesn t the

Mr. Taft (interrupting). For a number of years, the State voted
$300,000,000 dollars for the elimination of grade grossings. A good
deal was expended on Long Island out at Atlantic Avenue. Last year
there was an amendment appropriating it for other purposes.

Now, the State law which we refer to, 2 percent of it, because of
that fund for crossing eliminations, is not applicable to crossing elimi-
nations. We made an application for that and we were turned down.

The Chairman. You mean to say, although the people m the refer-
endum voted the $300,000,000 for grade crossing, that the legislature
last year, in spite of the vote of the people of the State, turned that
money over for other purposes? ,, ^

Mr. Taft. That was amended by reference to allocate a certain
amount of that for other purposes. It was referred back to the people
at the last election. I can illustrate it best this way : We made an
application for money for a preliminary survey for crossing elimi-
nations. We have four crossings within half a mile and they are
very dangerous. There have been a good many fatal accidents there,
lliey say that is taken care of under other departments of the State,
so they won't appropriate any money or pay any cost of the survey
and plans. Although the village authorities have been corresponding
for 6 weeks now, they haven't funds for that survey.

We want to have plans and estimates and everything necessary to
start that work after the war in case there is need for that type ot
employment ; but the village does not feel that it can pay the expense
of this survey and preparation of plans. As a result the thing is
temporarily stalemated.

Mr. Bush. What Mr. Taft said in regard to the money available
for the State, you realize that it is not covering these projects which
I specifically mentioned.

Now, as I understand it, Mr. Chairman, you are not so much inter-
ested in what the projects are but whether they are worth-while
public projects.

The Chairman. That is right. ^ t a

Mr. Bush. It seems to me from the questions you have asked, and
the replies given, that you are primarily interested in the question as
to whether or not Federal aid is needed. I mean, that is the crux
of the matter from my point of view.

The Chairman. I think you are right. . .

Mr. Bush. I would not take it upon myself to express an opinion
how the voters of the county would vote if a referendum were held as
to how they would wish that money to be sent into the county. It


would be merely a statement of my own personal opinion of the
matter and nothmg more.

It might be, if a referendum were taken in Orange County, that
the people would be in favor of having that money made available
from Federal sources either direct or through the State. As Mr.
Shipp and Mr. Taft said, the local communities would not be finan-
cially able to do these projects I mentioned at one time. Of course,
that means that aid would be required from some source.

The Ctiaikman. Do you think, if a grant was made to the State
by the Federal Governiiient, that the State would do any better in
connection with handing out the Federal money than it has done in
connection with handing out its own money ?

Mr. Bush. Don't you tliink that is an unfair question ?

The Chairman. No. I think that is what we are trying to get at.
We have a difficult task here to determine— to what extent we should
go and how we should do it.

Mr. Bush. I realize that, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. The thought has occurred to us — as a matter of
fact, it has been suggested to me by Dr. Kaplan, who is very much
interested m this matter— as to whether or not, even if the Federal
Government gave money to the State, it would finally go down into
the towns and villages.

Mr. Wolcott spoke this afternoon about a roads appropriation. I
understand that only a small percentage of the money which the
Federal Government has appropriated for roads to go through the
States has filtered down into the actual construction of roads.

I am wondering whether or not it would be more advisable to have
the projects right from the States, if thev are State projects; the
cities, if they are city projects; or counties, if they are county projects;
thus go through Federal works, without first going through the State,
and then from the State back down to the Federal works.

Mr. Bush. Well, now, Mr. Chairman

The Chairman. Excuse me, Mr. Bush. I do not want you to feel
that I am asking any questions that are intended to be embarrassing
at all. ^

Mr. Bush. I realize that, and there are no political implications.

The Chairman. Of course not.

Mr. Bush. I realize that. But in answering that question, if I
should give an opinion that is adverse, that would be criticizing my
own State in favor of the Federal Government. Insofar as the Fed-
eral funds granted, or so-called Federal aid for the construction of
highways was concerned, that question should be addressed to the
State department of public works, division of highways.

Insofar as I know from my association with the division of high-
ways, department of public works in the State of New York, the Fed-
eral funds have been spent on the construction of State highways
in the State of New York.

The Chairman. Mr. Bush, there is no doubt that these funds have
been spent on highways. I do not mean to infer for a moment that
they have been spent on other things. My ]3oint was that both the
testimonies, I think, of Mr. Moses and somebody else here, were to
the effect that the full appropriation to which the State was entitled
out of the Federal funds — this applies not only to New York but to all


the 48 States, so far as I recall — the full appropriation that the Fed-
eral Government has made for road construction on a matching basis
has not been met, except to a comparatively small amount.

Mr. Bush. Is that a question? -

The Chairman. Yes. '.

Mr. Bush. I feel that I am not qualified to answer that question, sir,,
because the administration of those funds is in the hands of the State
department of public works. How they have been expended, I would
have no means of knowing. But I can say that, from my knowledge
of wliat has been done, I know that some of those funds — at least T
could not say all or what part — have been expended for the purpose of
highway construction.

The Chairman. I hope that Orange County got its share.

Mr. Bush. We feel that it has.

The Chairman. That is fine.

Mr. Bush. I might say that insofar as Orange County and our
planning board for the county is concerned, we have very complete
cooperation; and the State department of public works, through the
division of highways who do the construction work of highways, have
given a great deal of consideration to suggestions which our board has
made concerning where these highways should be located in Orange
Count J^ I think that any member of our board could say the same as I
am saying, that we have had very hearty cooperation and a good deal
of information.

There seems to be some confusion on the through way and the Rocke-
feller Parkway, which I heard discussed here before, and perhaps I
might clarify it a little bit. The Rockefeller Highway, as laid out
by the plans of the Palisade Interstate Park Commission, extends from
the George Washington Bridge to what is Iniown as Queensborough
Traffic Circle, which is about 2 miles west of the Bear Mountain
Bridge, and there it terminates.

On their map, they show that this parkway is to extend westwardly.
from that point by the State of New York Parkway. I might say that
aerial surveys have been made by the State of New York from which
plans will be made to show where the highway will run.

I might also say, as Mr. Taft I think, mentioned before, that the
planning board and the State department of public works have given
very serious consideration and thought to local suggestions. Their
attitude is although it is a through route, it does affect the local people
and they are the people who have to live with it when it is completed.

So long as poor engineering is not in the picture, as I might term
it, they will give consideration to suggestions.

The Chairman. Does that complete your statement, Mr. Bush?

Mr. Bush. Insofar as I have anything further to say, I mentioned
very briefly the projects we have as it seemed to me that was not basic
at this hearing. It is a method of financing.

The Chairman. We want to thank you for your testimony here.
The next witness will be Mr. Oscar J. Heins, staff supervisor, Rock-
land County Planning Board, Rockland County, N. Y.

Do you want to submit a statement ?

Mr. Heins. We were called over here at the very last minute.

The Chairman. Do you wish to make a statement, or do you pi'efer
to file or submit a written statement ?


First of all, please give your full name for the purpose of the record.

Mr. Oscar J. Heins. Oscar J. Heins.

The Chairman. As I understand it, Mr. Heins, you prefer to file a
statement with the committee, and of course that will be agreeable to
us. You may send it to the committee in Washington at your con-
venience, which. I hope, will be within the next week or 10 days.

Mr. Heins. Yes.

The Chairman. Thank you.

Mr. Heins. We will send that direct to Washington.

The Chairman. The next witness is ]\Ir. Richard F. Ambi-ey, mem-
ber of the board of supervisors, Rockland County.

What township are you from, Mr. Ambrey ?

Mr. Richard F. Ambrey. Stony Point. That is near Bear Moun-

T he Chairman. May we have your statement, Mr. Ambrey ?


JVjir. Ambrey. I want to go on record as approving of the parkway.
We met with Mr. Moses and the State commissioner of parks in Bear
Mountain in the spring. We went on record at that time as being
in favor of the parkway. We feel as though we have enough park-
ways on the other side of the river, and we are entitled to some. Bear
Mountain means a lot to Rockland County. I believe they are doing
a lot of work up there in postwar planning. We are going along with
Mr. Morgan and Mr. Moses 100 percent.

So, anything that you can do for us along those lines will be of
great help to us.

The Chairman. We will certainly try to do whatever we can for you.

Mr. Ambrey. Outside of that, Mr. Heins will have everything in
his report.

The Chairman. Thank you very much, gentlemen.

There being nothing further before us, the hearings are concluded.



House of Representatrtes,
Special Committee on Postwar Economic

Policy and Planning,

Washington., D. G.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m. in room 1304,
New House Office Building, Hon. William M. Colmer (chairman),

Present: Representatives Colmer (chairman), Cooper, Walter,
Voorhis, Murdock, Lynch, O'Brien, Fogarty, Worley, Gifford, Reece,
Welch, Wolverton, Hope, Wolcott, Le Fevre, and Simpson.

Also present : Dr. A. D. H. Kaplan, consultant to the committee, and
Marion B. Folson, staff director.

The Chairman. The committee %vill come to order.

As the committee and most IMembers of Congress well know, after
the adjournment and break-through of the bulge, we have been trying
for psychological reasons to keep this committee's activities, at least
the publicity part of it, to a minimum.

We feel, however, that it is just as essential to be prepared for this
postwar period as it is for the war itself, and we feel that we can
afford to go ahead with some of these public hearings.

When this committee was first organized it was divided into a num-
ber of subcommittees dealing with various phases of the postwar prob-
lems. Among them was the Subcommittee on Public Works and
Construction, of which Mr. Lynch is the subcommittee chairman. We
thought it necessary to resume the hearings on that subject, and we
thought further that in view of the fact that we were not having any
other subcommittee hearings, it would be very desirable to have those
hearings before the full committee, with which position Mr. Lynch very
wholeheartedl}^ agreed.

We are glad to have Mr. Ruml with us this morning, who will make
a statement on that subject.

Mr. Ruml, do you have a prepared statement?

Mr. Ruml. Mr. Chairman, I have a two-page statement that I should
like to make, and the two-page statement contains one important
sentence which I will refer to when I get to it.

May I just read this?

Mr. Lynch. Before we go on with Mr. Ruml, I might say in dis-
cussing this matter with the subcommittee, it was the opinion of the
subcommittee that to round out the record in better fashion, it would
be better to have Dr. Kaplan propound questions before the members
of the committee took the matter up.



The Chairman. Mr. Lynch spoke to me about this matter and, of
course, it is perfectly agreeable to me. It was my purpose, Mr. Lynch,
to submit to the full committee when we got around to questions.
I would like to suggest, though, that Mr. Rurnl be given the opportunity
to present his statement first before we interrupt him with questions.



Mr. RuML, I appreciate the invitation to discuss the views of my
associates on the National Planning Association's Agriculture, Busi-
ness, and Labor Committees, on the subject of public works and
conservation as a factor in stabilizing the postwar economy.

The National Planning Association recently issued a report. Sta-
bilizing the Construction Industry, by Miles L. Colean, accompanied
by a supporting statement which presented recommendations for
action by the agriculture, business, and labor committees. Mr. Batt,
who at that time was chairman of the National Planning Association,
has already explained to this committee how these committees of the
National Planning Association operate, but I will be very glad to
answer any questions you may have.

That report was prepared in an effort to see what policies are re-
quired to assure that construction and conservation activities are
integrated with all the elements that make up a healthy national

Our studies clearly show the close relationship of construction
and conservation policies to such other important phases of national
fiscal policy as taxation and social security. An attempt to depend
on public and private construction as the sole means for stabilizing
the whole economy will not only fail in that purpose, but will result
in disastrous instability in the construction industry itself.

What we in NPA believe should be done is to plan public works
and conservation, and time them so that the activities of the con-
struction industry are evened out to maintain a satisfactory level of
construction, consistent with the needs of American life, throughout
the year and over the years.

Now that sentence I have just read is the sentence to which I re-
ferred. For at least 20 years now we have been thinking about the
use of public works and conservation for the purpose of evening out
the business cycle, for the purpose of filling in the valleys and cutting
off the peaks, and now we have come to feel, I think, in the course
of the last 3 years, that that is too ambitious a thing to try to attempt.
It is too vague an objective. It doesn't lend itself to real programing,
real study, and real operation. Therefore, we felt we must shift the
-emphasis to say "Let us not try to even out the business cycle; but
let us try to take the construction industry — this very volatile element
in the business cycle — and see what we can do to make its operation
more regular."

Now, from our point of view, all policies, in a sense, and all pro-
grams relating to public works and conservation flow from that very
small distinction. It is like the watershed that makes the river run


east or west, and I urge that the committee recognize that dechara-
tion as being a matter of the greatest importance for the future of all
public works and conservation planning.

If this is accomplished the gains toward stabilizing the whole
economy obviously will be considerable, since the construction in-
dustry — including maintenance and repair w^ork — alone accounts over
the last 20 years for around 15 percent of the Nation's total income.

Three important gains to the economy which would result from a
public works and conservation program directed toward the stabil-
ization of the construction industry are :

1. For fiscal policy, timed disbursements for public construction
and conservation to stabilize the construction industry will regular-
ize one of the most fluctuating elements in the whole economic picture,
public construction being increased proportionately as private con-
struction decreases, and vice versa.

2. A stable construction industry will benefit all parts of the in-

3. Higher efficiency and lower costs will result from the reduction
of idle labor and plant expense and from the correction of restrictive
practices which have grown up in the industry.

To achieve such a public-works program, a study of the construc-
tion industry should be made to see how it could be stabilized; and
how to assure that the Government gets its fair money's worth for
public expenditures, and citizens benefit in the lower cost of private

The business committee accepted our suggestion and asked Mr.
Colean to try to find the answers to such questions as :

1. Why is stabilization of construction activity desirable?

2. What amounts of construction year after year would be required
to maintain a desirable level of activity?

3. What contribution can public works make to stabilization?

4. What aids in addition to public works may be required to pro-
duce a more orderly flow of construction activity?

Mr. Colean submitted last October a report on these questions to
the business committee and to subcommittees of the labor and agricul-
ture committees. Out of their work developed the joint statement,
unanimously endorsing the Colean report.

Mr. Colean is here and is prepared to answer the questions which
have been asked by the committee and to discuss other matters con-
tained in his report.

Now, Mr. Chairman, if Mr. Colean could answer the questions that
the committee has put to him, then we would perhaps be available,
or, if you prefer, I would be glad to answ^er questions in advance of

The Chairmax. We will leave that to you, Mr. Ruml. If you
would prefer Mr. Colean to take over now, that w^ill be perfectly all

Mr. Ruml. His statement is only a short one and then the whole
subject matter would be before the connnittee, and I would make that

The Chairman. All right.



Mr. CoLEAN. Mr. Chairman, my statement is also brief and it is
directed in the first instance to the questions asked in Mr. Lynch's

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Special CommitteePost-war economic policy and planning. Joint hearings before the special committees on post-war economic policy and planning, Congress of the United States, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, pursuant to S. Res. 102 and H. Res. 408, resolutions creating special committees on post-war economic (unit 6) → online text (page 18 of 49)