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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1922

Message of the president of the United States to Congress, December 8, 1922,   pp. VII-XIX ff. PDF (5.1 MB)

Page X

operations in the past, we have the transportation and the honest
investment in the transportation which sped us on to what we are,
and we face conditions which reflect its inadequacy to-day, its greater
inadequacy to-morrow, and we contemplate transportation costs
which much of the traffic can not and will not continue to pay.
Manifestly, we have need to begin on plans to coordinate all trans-
portation facilities. We should more effectively connect up our rail
lines with our carriers by sea. We ought to reap some benefit from
the hundreds of millions expended on inland waterways, proving our
capacity to utilize as well as expend. We ought to turn the motor
truck into a railway feeder and distributor instead of a destroying
It would be folly to ignore that we live in a motor age. The motor
car reflects our standard of living and gauges the speed of our pres-
ent-day life. It long ago ran down Simple Living, and never halted
to inquire about the prostrate figure which fell as its victim. With
full recognition of motor-car transportation we must turn it to the
most practical use. It can not supersede the railway lines, no matter
how generously we afford it highways out of the Public Treasury.
If freight traffic by motor were charged with its proper and pro-
portionate share of highway construction, we should find much of
it wasteful and more costly than like service by rail. Yet we have
paralleled the railways, a most natural line of construction, and
thereby taken away from the agency of expected service much of its
profitable traffic, which the taxpayers have been providing the high-
ways, whose cost of maintenance is not yet realized.
The Federal Government has a right to inquire into the wisdom
of this policy, because the National Treasury is contributing largely
to this highway construction. Costly highways ought to be made
to serve as feeders rather than competitors of the railroads, and the
motor truck should become a coordinate factor in our great distri-
buting system.
This transportation problem can not be waived aside. The de-
mand for lowered costs on farm products and basic materials can not
be ignored. Rates horizontally increased, to meet increased wage
outlays during the war inflation, are not easily reduced. When some
very moderate wage reductions were effected last summer there was
a 5 per cent horizontal reduction in rates. I sought at that time,
in a very informal way, to have the railway managers go before the
Interstate Commerce Commission and agree to a heavier reduction
on farm products and coal and other basic commodities, and leave
unchanged the freight tariffs which a very large portion of the
traffic was able to bear. Neither the managers nor the commission
saw fit to adopt the suggestion, so we had the horizontal reduction

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