Annual Report Kentucky 1920-1921 Railroad Commission HArd Cover
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Annual Report Kentucky 1920-1921 Railroad Commission HArd Cover
Forty-first And Forty-second Annual Reports Of The Railroad Commission Of Kentucky For The Years 1920 And 1921
Financial. list of 50 steam railroads making thier annual operating report,Six electric RR Companies, fatalities tables, statements and orders in the matter of..., misc complaints nd applications,
FORTY-FIRST AND FORTY-SECOND ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE RAILROAD COMMISSION OF KENTUCKY.
OFFICE OF RAILROAD COMMISSION, FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY,
DECEMBER 1, 1921
To HoN. EDWIN P. MORROW, Governor of Kentucky:
The following is submitted as the annual report of the Kentucky Railroad Commission for the years 1920 and 1921. It was thought expedient by the Commission, in which your Excellency and the Attorney General concurred, that we pass the printed report for 1920 and combine it with that of 1921, for the reason that during the former year the railroads were largely under Federal control and the control of the Interstate Commerce Commission under the Transportation Act which denied the state commissions supervision of rates, except by and with the consent of the Federal Commission.
The year 1921 has been rather a busy year for the Commission and many complaints have been adjusted without a formal hearing, and the contested cases, together with the opinions and orders of the Commission are contained in this report.,
It has become provephial thiolighout the Commonwealth that the Railroad Commission is almost devoid .of workable power and authority. This lack of authority has been' manifested in a majolity of the cases coming before the Commission during -the last two years. It has been especially noticeable in relation -ca the various increases of tie carriers allowed by the Federal Commission in Interstate commerce, but which increases were also applied to Intrastate traffic without any hearing or proceeding to determine whether or not it was proper for the carriers to increase the state 'rates in the same ratio as they increased Interstate rates. Practically all, if not indeed all, increased Interstate rates. Practically all, if not indeed all, other State Commissions had the power to suspend these Interstate increases and did suspend them until a hearing could be had concerning their reasonableness.
We were for sometime, therefore, confronted with the rankest discrimination against the citizens of Kentucky. For example, the Indiana Commission suspended some of the increases which were put into effect in Kentucky without any hearing before the Kentucky Commission, so that freight moved across the river, like distances, at rates much lower than on this side thereof. And commodities could be sold by the citizens of Indiana more cheaply in the Louisville market than they could be sold in the same market by the citizens of this Commonwealth. It would, therefore, seem imperative, in order to avoid like conditions in the future, that the Kentucky commission be given power both to initiate and suspend rates.
The authority given by the statute to the Commission is so negligible that this report would be too long drawn out should we attempt to particularize the instances in which the Commssion found itself without authority, and we would most earnestly recommend the passage of a modern bill regulating carriers, such as other states have, and we would especially recommend for your consideration the California law regulating carriers, a copy of which is enclosed herewith. It is thought by some of the best Commerce Counsel of our National Assodihtion of Railroad and Public Utilities Commissioners, and by the General Solicitor of that Association, that the California law is the most modern in the Nation. In this we concur and believe tint it should be used 'as the basis from which to frame a law for this Commonwealth.
An illustration of the weakness of our present law is manifested in the Bowling Green case decided this year by the Court of Appeals, in which it was held that the Commission had no authority to require a carrier to construct a new station, no matter how old or delapidated the line in service might be.
The amendment adopted at the last session of the Legislature, giving the Commission the authority to regulate joint rates, has been helpful to shippers and considerable lower rates where a shipment moved over two or more lines have been enjoyed since the passage of that act.
Many provisions of the Kentucky Statutes regulating carriers are ineffectual in that certain duties are imposed upon carriers by law but no penalty is provided for the violation of these duties imposed on the carriers and no adequate remedy is provided to compel carriers to comply with the regular duties, which by law they owe to the public. A comprehensive act should be passed, giving to the Railroad Commission supervisory authority over the rules, regulations and practices, not only of railroad companies, but especially over sleeping car, steamboat, ferry, bridge and telephone companies. It would seem that it would be much better to give the Commission exclusive jurisdiction, eliminating that now being exercised by municipalities over telephone and natural gas companies. There is also some sentiment toward placing Street railway and Electric Power and Lighting companies under the jurisdiction of the Commission
We would recommend the reinactment of Section 4679C and the several sub-sections thereunder of the Kentucky Statutes which were repealed March 14th, 1916, under and by virtue of the enactment of Section 840-A of the Statutes of that year. If this is not done and the Western Union Telegraph Company should lose its pending litigation relating to condemnation of a right-of-way over the lines of railroads, it threatens to withdraw its service from Eastern Kentucky, and a great hardship would result to the peopte in that section of the state. This also affects, to some degree, certain sections of Western Kentucky.
We would further recommend an enactment giving the Commission power and authority to regulate the distribution of cars in Intrastate service, and would likewise recommend legislation giving supervisory authority over facilities for receiving, switching, delivering, storing or handling freight with the necessary authority for fixing reasonable charges for such service. By far the most important, imperative and necessary requirement of the Commission is a modern bill drawn in the light and experience of recent developments in transportation problems and conditions, and, we think the California law is the best available piece of legislation to use as a standard in framing such an act for this Commonwealth.
All of which is most respectfully submitted,
J. S. COOPER, Chairman
FRANK N. BURNS,
E. C. KASH,
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