Whereas, the Meridian House Foundation is vitally interested in seeing that adequate provision is made at the Visitor Center for the thousands of visitors from abroad who come to our Capital each year;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Foundation expresses its strong support for a Visitor Center and for adequate space, facilities and staff to give the visitors assistance through referral to organizations and others in obtaining specialized information and communication with American business, the professions, and the arts; and

Be it further resolved that the Foundation, through its International Visitors Service Council of Greater Washington Organizations (IVIS), and its professional and volunteer staff and resources will be available to work with the Visitor Center in implementing the above stated goals and purposes.

In conclusion, we believe that the Foundation, through the International Visitors Service Council (IVIS), with its fine professional and Volunteer staffs can be of assistance in planning for the National Visitor Center and in providing services to international visitors who would be received there. We shall look forward to working with appropriate Government officials on this project in the months ahead.


Washington, D.C., September 20, 1967. Hon. KENNETH J. GRAY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Works and Buildings and Grounds, House of

Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. GRAY: Last spring the Capitol Hill Southeast Citizens Association voted in favor of placing a Visitors' Center in the Union Station.

Under your proposed bill, the Association agrees as to the amount to be spent by the railroads and also by the government.

The main concern of this organization is that the Union Station is included under the Model Cities plan. Model City is a fancy name for Low Cost Housing. Unless Union Station and up to H Street, N.E. can be gotten out of the Model City Plan, it means there is no safety on the streets guaranteed for the Union Station visitors. On the streets down to Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., the visitors can be attacked or robbed by residents of the Model City that includes Urban Renewal N.W. Project I, from North Capitol south to Mass. Avenue, N.E., to and from Stanton Park; east on Maryland Avenue, N.E. from Stanton Park.

Union Station whose northern boundaries from North Capitol to Mass. Avenue should be moved to H Street, N.E. in order to protect it so visitors can come and go from the Nation's Capital in safety.

Even with the change, the area south and west must be carefully policed to Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. If you plan wisely, the section surrounding the Union Station will be protected.

Please include the above suggestions in order to bring security to such a large investment of money in the project.

The Capitol Hill Southeast Citizens Association sends this statement of endorsement for the Union Station instead of appearing before your Committee. The organization is vitally interested in the success of the plan and urges your Committee to adopt the suggestions. Such help to visitors is badly needed. Sincerely yours,



Washington, D.C., October 11, 1967. Hon. KENNETH J. GRAY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, Public Works Com

mittee, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reference to H.R. 12770, (National Visitor Center Act of 1967). This bill provides for extensive alteration of the existing Union Station building and for considerable new construction, including parking facilities. In all instances, the bill specifies that the property is to be leased by the Federal Goverment for a period not to exceed 20 years.

The Department favors this legislation; however, the bill does not contain a provision for the payment of prevailing wages, as required under the Davis-Bacon Act on construction authorized by this legislation. Without such a provision, contractors from outside the locality and in some cases, from outside the State would be free to bid on such jobs and undercut the prevailing wage and living standards in the community.

It should be clearly understood that the inclusion of prevailing wage provisions as provided for in the Davis-Bacon Act on Federally-assisted projects does not increase the wage rates in a community. The Davis-Bacon provisions are designed purely to protect local contractors and building tradesmen in the area from the incursions and underbidding of outside contractors. Thus, the Act is designed to prevent such undercutting of community living standards by requiring contractors to pay workers on Federally-aided projects as much as the prevailing wage rates in the local community and place contractors on equal competitive terms.

The Department feels that the omission of the prevailing wage provisions of the Davis-Bacon, as amended, must be an oversight and strongly urges that this provision be incorporated in H.R. 12770. We feel that such a provision is definitely necessary so as to assure that such protection will apply to any agreement or lease entered into between the Federal Government and the Washington Terminal Company in carrying out the purposes of this bill.

Enclosed is a copy of a proposed provision. In our opinion, the language of this provision is necessary to assure that workers on all construction projects author. ized under the provisions of this Act are paid the prevailing wages. We strongly urge that this provision be incorporated in the final version of this legislation. With best wishes, I am, Sincerely,


Director of Legislation. Labor standards

(a) All laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors on projects assisted directly or indirectly under this Act shall be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar construction in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act, as amended, (40 U.S.C. 276a4276a-5), and every such employee shall receive compensation at a rate not less than one and one half times his basic rate of pay for all hours worked in any work week in excess of eight hours in any work day or forty hours in the work week as the case may be. No federal aid provided for, under this Act, shall be approved unless there shall have been previously obtained adequate assurance that these labor standards will be maintained upon the construction work.

(6) The Secretary of Labor shall have, with respect to the labor standards specified in subsection (a), the authority and functions set forth in Reorganization Plan Number 14 of 1950 (15 F.R. 3176; 64 Stat. 1267; 5 U.S.C. 1332–15) and section 2 of the Act of June 13, 1934, as amended, (48 Stat. 948; 40 U.S. 276c).


Washington, D.C., October 13, 1967. Hon. KENNETH J. GRAY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, House Public Works

Committee, Washhington, D.C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN GRAY: Enclosed is a proof sheet of an editorial which will appear in the November issue of the American Motorist Magazine, official publication of the D.C. Division of the American Automobile Association.

The D.S. Division, AAA, endorses House Bill 12823 concerning establishment of a National Visitors Center at Union Station. We would like to have the editorial included in the testimony in support of this legislation. Sincerely yours,


[From the Am

ican Motorist magazine)


Relief is in sight for the poor harried tourist, hot and hungry, trapped in a traffic circle, unable to find a parking space, a hotel or the Smithsonian.

The National Visitor Center Study Commission has issued its final report which causes one to wonder how the city has gotten along without the facilities now contemplated.

Under the study commission's recommendations, Union Station would be turned into an orientation and rest area, offering movies on where to go and why, historical exhibits, restaurants, visitor service, rest rooms, and a 3,000car parking garage, train depot, bus ramp and heliport.

Actual renovation of the station at a cost of $5 million and construction of new facilities at $11 million would be paid by the railroads. The Federal Government would sign a 20-year lease to pay an annual rent of $2.9 million.

When completed, Union Station could aid 50,000 persons a day. The Center would go a long way in making Washington the most desirable city in America to visit. The Nation's Capital has done far too little in the past to welcome its visitors and enable them to see the city with comfort. Experts estimate that the city's present volume of 15 million visitors a year will grow to 24 million by 1974.

Congress should promptly approve enabling legislation to allow this project to get under way and be completed by 1970.


Washington, D.C., October 18, 1967. Hon. KENNETH J. GRAY, Chairman, Public Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee, Public Works Com

mittee, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN GRAY: Washington Sightseeing Tours, Inc., is in favor of legislation to establish a National Visitor Center. However, it has recently come to our attention that Section 5 of H.R. 12603 may have a disastrous effect upon our sightseeing operations.

It was not until Chairman Avery of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission testified on October 11, 1967 that we realized Section 5 might be construed to grant the Secretary of Interior authority to contract for sightseeing services with a carrier who does not hold authority from the WMATC. In this regard we strongly support the position of the WMATC.

In addition we wish to register our opposition to Section 5 of H.R. 12603, because in our opinion it might be construed to give the Secretary of the Interior the power, in effect, to revoke the authority of all established sightseeing companies in the Washington area and to grant a monopoly in favor of one company. The Secretary would have the authority to appoint one company the exclusive carrier for the performance of sightseeing service to the most important points of interest in the city. Such service is the heart of the sightseeing business in the Washington Metropolitan area and the loss of such service would put many carriers out of business. At present numerous carriers perform sightseeing operations in Washington. If this section was so construed by the Secretary, the following carriers would be excluded from providing their present service by the grant of authority to one carrier by the Secretary:

A B & W Transit Co.
American Sightseeing Tours.
Atwood's Transport Lines, Inc.
Baltimore & Annapolis RR Co.
Blue Line Sightseeing Co.
Capitol Sightseeing Co.
Columbia Sightseeing Co.
Continental Trailways Bus System.
D.C. Transit System Inc.
Diamond Sightseeing Tours.
Gold Line Service.
History Tours.
Holiday Tours, Inc.
Gray Line Sightseeing Tours.
Mayflower Limousine & Sightseeing Service.
Orr's Limousine Service.
WM A Transit Co.
Washington Sightseeing Tours, Inc.
Washington-Virginia & Maryland Coach Co.
White House Sightseeing Tours.

We certainly hope that it is not the intent of Congress to destroy numerous carriers who have authority to provide sightseeing service, who have buses, and who have experience in the sightseeing business.

We respectfully request that Section 5 be deleted from the legislation to create a National Visitors Center. Sincerely yours,



Washington, D.C., September 13, 1967.
Chairman, Committee on Public Works,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. FALLON : Downtown Progress, the National Capital Downtown Committee, Inc., is pleased to express its enthusiastic support for H.R. 12603, the “National Visitor Center Act of 1967.” Our Organization, formed by civic and business leaders in the Washington area, has had a strong interest in the subject of visitors to Washington since we began activities in 1960, and we have developed a great deal of useful information about visitors to the Nation's Capital and about facilities to meet the needs of visitors.

The “Visitor Study: Visitor Economic Support and Facilities for Downtown Washington, D.C.” prepared under our direction by the Stanford Research Institute, and published in 1961, was the first comprehensive study ever undertaken of the volumes and characteristics of visitors to the Nation's Capital. It provided the background information necessary for estimating future visitor volumes, and for identifying facilities required to meet the needs of visitors. In 1963, we directed the preparation by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., of "A Planning Study for a National Visitor and Student Center in Washington, D.C.,” which contained proposals for a program, and for the space requirements for a National Visitor and Student Center, and which suggested several possible locations, for such a center, based on objective locational criteria. For your information, we are enclosing copies of the highlights of each of these studies. We already have furnished to the National Visitor Center Study Commission copies of the full report by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc.

In the preparation of the National Visitor and Student Center study, we were assisted by an advisory committee with representatives from the National Park Service, the United States Civil Service Commission, the United States Travel Service, and the Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau, and with observers from the National Capital Planning Commission. We met, as well, with representatives of a number of private organizations and public organizations interested in visitors to Washington, and the final report was benefited by this participation. In the reviews of the proposal that we have conducted with many groups since that time, we have encountered widespread interest and support for the concept of a National Visitor Center.

On the basis of our studies and our contacts with interested organizations and individuals, we believe that the provisions of H.R. 12603 will permit the development of a National Visitor Center that will make it possible for millions of visitors to derive more meaning and enjoyment from their trips to the Nation's Capital in the future.

If we can be of any service to you, please do not hesitate to call on us at any time. Sincerely,

ROBERT C. BAKER, President.


CENTER IN WASHINGTON, D.C." (Summary of a study prepared for Downtown Progress, the National Capital

Downtown Committee, Inc., by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc.)

Concept of the National Visitor and Student Center The National Visitor and Student Center is proposed for Washington, D.C. to help meet the needs of the increasing millions of visitors and students who come to the Nation's Capital each year. On the basis of studies which have provided information about present and future visitor volumes and characteristics, and with the advice of government agencies and private organizations that now minister to the needs of visitors to Washington, the National Visitor and Student Center has been conceived as follows:

The Center would be a single building, with adjacent parking, designed and equipped to receive and orient visitors and students, to provide for their basic needs of comfort and convenience, and to assist them in moving expeditiously to other parts of the Nation's Capital, where interests generated by the programs in the Center would be satisfied in greater depth. The orientation programs would cover three themes :

I. History of the United States.
II. Organization and operation of our Government.

III. Development of the National's Capital. These themes would be presented by means of films, exhibits, and other media.

Structure and Site Requirements The Center would be designed to accommodate visitor volumes of 50,000 or more a day which would be achieved during the 1970's.

The size of a structure to house the theaters, exhibit space, and services for the expected attendance would be between 152,000 square feet and 200,000 square feet, with adjacent parking facilities to provide for an ultimate capacity of 4,000 automobiles. With multilevel construction a site of at least 7.5 acres would be required.

Proposed Locations Two desirable locations for this Center, determined by detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis, would be:

1. At Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues, adjacent to the proposed Center Leg Freeway; 2. Union Station.

Estimated Costs

The cost of a new structure and site for the National Visitor and Student Center is estimated at $12 million.

The cost of the required parking structures and site is estimated at $13 million. This cost could be amortized from parking revenues.

Thus, the total initial capital outlay required might be about $25 million of which $12 million would not be subject to amortization.

These costs would increase, of course, if special monumental architecture is specified, or if additional open land is desired around the Center.

Means of Accomplishment The National Park Service would be an appropriate agency to assume responsibility for the establishment and the operation of the Center. Also, an Advisory Commission with members drawn from appropriate public agencies and private organizations should be appointed to provided policy guidance with respect to programs and operations.

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