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North Dakota, statement-
Macy, John W., Jr., chairman, U.S. Civil Service Commission, letter- 35
NATIONAL VISITOR CENTER ACT OF 1967
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1967
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SUBCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS OF THE
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Kenneth J. Gray (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. GRAY. The Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds of the House Committee on Public Works will please come to order.
The Chair would like to welcome all of you here this morning and thank you very kindly for coming.
We will conduct open hearings starting today and continuing possibly for 3 or 4 days on H.R. 12603, by Mr. Gray of Illinois; H.R. 12686, by Mr. McClory; H.R. 12693, by Mr. Pickle; H.R. 12752, by Mr. Leggett; H.R. 12760, by Mr. Widnall; H.R. 12770, by Mr. Annunzio; H.R. 12778, by Mr. Matsunaga; H.R. 12784, by Mr. Schwengel and Mr. Mayne; H.R. 12823, by Mr. Eílberg; H.R. 12825, by Mr. Erlenborn; H.R. 12828, by Mr. Farbstein; H.R. 12831, by Mr. Kleppe; H.R. 12845, by Mr. Helstoski; H.R. 12866, by Mr. Grover; H.R. 12870, by Mr. Rodino; and H.R. 12885, by Mr. Henderson, and several identical Senate bills introduced by our colleagues in the other body.
This act, if enacted, will be known as the National Visitor Center Act of 1967.
(H.R. 12603 follows:)
[H.R. 12603, 90th Cong., first sess.) A BILL To supplement the purposes of the Public Buildings Act of 1959 (73 Stat. 479),
by authorizing agreements and leases with respect to certain properties in the District of Columbia, for the purpose of a national visitor center, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “National Visitor Center Act of 1967”.
SEC. 2. The Administrator of the General Services Administration and the Secretary of the Interior, on behalf of the United States, are authorized to negotiate and enter into agreements and leases with the Washington Terminal Company, the owner of the property in the District of Columbia known as Union Station, for the use of portions of such property for a national visitor center and for a parking facility in connection therewith.
SEC. 3. (a) The agreements and leases authorized by section 2 of this Act shall be subject to the following terms and conditions :
(1) The Washington Terminal Company shall agree to undertake such alterations of the existing Union Station Building as the Secretary of the Interior deems necessary to provide adequate facilities for visitors, but the total cost of such alterations shall not exceed $5,000,000;
(2) The lease of the Union Station Building to the United States shall commence upon completion of such alterations and shall be for a term of not more than twenty years;
(3) The Washington Terminal Company shall undertake the construction of a parking facility, including a vehicular access ramp thereto, to accommodate approximately four thousand vehicles in the airspace immediately northerly of existing Union Station Building, at a total cost not to exceed $11,000,000, which facility, upon completion, shall be leased to the United States for a term of not more than twenty years;
(4) The Washington Terminal Company shall construct a new railroad terminal in the area immediately northerly of such parking facility; and
(5) The aggregate cost to the United States of the leases entered into under this Act may not exceed $2,935,000 annually.
(b) The agreements and leases authorized by section 2 of this Act shall be subject to such other terms and conditions as the Administrator of the General Services Administration and the Secretary of the Interior prescribe.
SEC. 4. The Secretary of the Interior shall administer the property leased under this Act in accordance with the statutory authority available to him for the administration of the national park system.
SEC. 5. In connection with his responsibilities to administer any areas in the Mall and its vicinity in the District of Columbia which contain points of intensive visitation or interest, the Secretary of Interior is directed to utilize the authority in the Act of May 26, 1930 (46 Stat. 382), as amended and supplemented, to provide transportation of visitors by the United States when the Secretary deems such action advisable to facilitate such visitation and to insure proper management and protection of such areas, The Secretary is also directed to make provision for such transportation of visitors to the National Visitor Center established pursuant to this Act.
SEC. 6. The District of Columbia shall not, during the term of any lease entered into by the United States and the Washington Terminal Company pursuant to this Act, include in the assessed valuation of the leased properties for tax purposes any increase in value by reason of the improvements made on such properties by said company in meeting its obligations under any lease or agreement made pursuant to this Act.
SEC. 7. (a) In connection with the construction of the parking facility contemplated by this Act, the District of Columbia shall, upon the request of the Administrator of General Services Administration, transfer to the said Administrator any real property under its jurisdiction which may be necessary to provide vehicular access to California Avenue.
(b) Any alteration in the existing traffic pattern in Union Station Plaza necessitated or made desirable by reason of the parking facility shall be made only after prior consultation with the Architect of the Capitol.
SEO. 8. Notwithstanding the execution of any agreement or lease pursuant to this Act, the Secretary of the Interior is directed to make a continuing study of the needs of visitors to the Washington metropolitan area, including therein the necessity and desirability of different or additional visitor centers, and to report to the President who shall submit to the Congress such recommendations as he deems appropriate.
Sec. 9. There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
Mr. GRAY. The Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds held extensive hearings last year on the need for establishing a National Visitor Center in our Nation's Capital. After hearings, it was the consensus of this committee that a Study Commission should be established to further study the need for a Visitor Center and/or Centers, and the Congress enacted last year a Public Law settting up a 21-member Commission to study the need for a Center, inspected sites and other matters relating thereto and report back to Congress.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Vice President, and the President of the United States, combined, appointed a 21member Commission. This Commission is composed of:
The Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Stewart Udall, who is Chairman of the full Commission.
Hon. Kenneth J. Gray, Democrat, of Illinois, Chairman of the Subcommittee to Select a Site or Sites.
Senator Joseph Tydings, of Maryland, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Parking and Transportation.
Hon. Fred Schwengel, Republican of Iowa, Chairman of the
Mr. Carlisle H. Humelsine.
Mr. William Walton, Fine Arts Commission. This 21-member Commission held extensive meetings throughout the city, including on-the-site inspections of a number of proposed sites for a National Visitor Center. Helping in a big way was the National Park Service and other Government agencies, and we came up with recommendations that will be submitted to Congress in printed form by September 15. I am sorry to say that the printer has not completed the printing of the Commission's recommendations for today's hearings, but we do expect those reports by the Commission to be available by the end of this week.
We felt that since the need is so great and time is growing short for this legislative session, we would begin the hearings today and, when the printed report is available, we expect departmental witnesses, including Mr. Udall, the Secretary of the Interior, to come forward and to give us a detailed report concerning the Commission's recommendations. In order to facilitate the matter, we felt we would start hearings on all of the bills this morning and hear as many witnesses as possible, and then have the Secretary of the Interior, who is chairman of the full Commission, wind up the hearings as soon as possible.
Briefly, if I may, I would like to state that of all the sites that the Commission inspected, it was the unanimous opinion of the Commission that the now existing Union Station held the best hope for a National Visitor Center, and before we start the hearings I want to call your attention to the map over on the far side of the room. We will be referring to that map in some of the testimony.
Briefly, it was proposed by the Commission that we not purchase but enter into a lease arrangement with the Washington Terminal Co. to take over Union Station, with the owners of Union Station providing the $5 million with which to renovate the station to suit the needs for a National Visitor Center, to provide at least $11 million for parking to accommodate a minimum of 4,000 vehicles, and also to construct and own a new train station that would fit in very nicely with the various modes of transportation that will be provided. We hope to have a heli
port for scheduled helicopter service to National, Dulles, and Friendship Airports on the roof. A station for the subway will also be at Union Station. We expect to have a leg off the Center Freeway for surface transportation. By having ample parking elevated over the tracks, we feel we can eliminate a lot of congestion on the streets of Washington and be able to accommodate all of the traffic in that area very nicely.
The first witness we have this morning is a distinguished colleague of mine from Illinois. I deeply appreciate his coming this morning. He has another meeting. We shall hear from him first.
I would like to welcome my good friend and colleague from Illinois, Congressman Frank Annunzio. Will you please come forward ?
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK ANNUNZIO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Gray. We appreciate your consideration in appearing here, Congressman Annunzio.
Mr. ANNUNZIO. My name is Frank Annunzio. I represent the Seventh District of Illinois.
Mr. Chairman and members of this subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this subcommittee today, and I should like to commend the distinguished members of this subcommittee, as well as my outstanding colleague from Illinois, Hon. Ken Gray, who is chairman of this subcommittee, for the thoughtful consideration you are extending to the problem of a visitor center for the Nation's Capital.
I want to congratulate Chairman Gray for the wisdom and foresight he has exercised in introducing H.R. 12603, which, if enacted, would provide a National Visitor Center for the District of Columbia. I recently introduced H.R. 12770, which is identical to Chairman Gray's bill, and I appear here today to express my enthusiastic support for a National Visitor Center.
The District has been long in need of organized assistance for the millions of visitors who come here each year from all the States of the Union and many countries of the world.
Washington, D.C., is the most popular tourist attraction in the United States. This Nation's Capital has become the capital of the free world. Each year, thousands of foreign visitors come here to see our Government at work. Each year, hundreds of high school classes save and work to come to Washington for their senior trips.
There is so much to see in this city that it would take weeks of 12-hour days to see it all. Washington is full of history—from Ford's Theater to the Eternal Flame atop the hill in Arlington. She is a beautiful, wide, and impressive city, with white buildings sparkling in the sun and their flags waving proudly in the breeze. She offers history and cultural events and excitement and inspiration. Here, the Government of the most powerful Nation in the world, and the most free, carries on its daily business under the eyes of its citizens.
For many people, both our foreign visitors and our fellow citizens, their trip to Washington is a pilgrimage they will make but once in a lifetime. I am sure that all of us would hope that the visit of each of our guests is a successful one-an educational, enjoyable, inspirational experience.