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And just figuring the sales tax, entertainment tax, at least, let's say, across the board of 4 percent, this could conceivably bring into Washington an additional $16 million per year just in taxes. You can see that the annual rental payment would be only $2.9 million so I think that is is very conceivable to agree that the additional taxes alone, brought into the Metropolitan Washington area would more than pay the lease arrangement for this Visitors Center.
Would you agree with that statement, Mr. Coon?
Mr. Coon. This sounds reasonable to me, Mr. Chairman, although I am not an authority on the project at hand.
Mr. GRAY. I am talking in round figures.
Mr. Coon. May I toss one comment in the hopper here, as long as you have touched on this. I spent a number of years traveling in the United States for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and dealt with individual chambers of commerce around the country. And I am impressed by the fact that if any of these cities that I am familiar with had any opportunity at all to get hold of a project which promises $200 million worth of private investment, the agencies of the city and everyone interested would certainly do everything possible to get this kind of investment.
And I hope the committee will encourage this project on that basis, if none other, because its economic contribution to the District of Columbia at this time would be particularly apropos, I think.
Mr. Gray, I might point out that the U.S. Travel Agency says that 10 tourists staying overnight every night, 365 nights, equals 100,000 people working in a factory, the payroll would be equivalent, just 10 people staying
each night for a full year. You can see that, if we have the proper accommodations where a lot of people are coming here and are not disillusioned after a day or so and if we had the facilities of keeping them here, this could be untold millions of dollars in additional revenue, which would certainly be good for the business people and your people on the Washington Board of Trade.
Also, very important is the fact that last year our annual payment to Washington was over a hundred million dollars. This comes from all the taxpayers all over the Nation, and it is in lieu of taxes because of the large number of Government buildings we have here; so, if we bring in more taxes to the people in the District of Columbia, this means less money we have to take out of the Treasury to pay the District of Columbia, so I think the amount of rental here is infinitesimal, compared to the potential income in taxes to the District of Columbia through increased tourist trade.
This is substantiated by the U.S. Travel Agency.
Mr. Coon. I think both of these opportunities are tremendous opportunities for the economic development of Washington. You will probably recall that the Board of Trade is thoroughly in support of lifting people from downtown Washington by helicopter to our airports.
Mr. GRAY. I might state in that connection that the CAB has far more applicants to start this service than we even dreamed possible. They have 13 applicants, including 11 major airlines. So I think our dream that we share is going to come true, that we will get this service. We hope so, very soon.
Thank you again, Mr. Coon. Are there any questions at all of Mr. Coon of the Washington Board of Trade?
Thank you very much. We appreciate your help and we appreciate your coming this morning.
Our next witness will be Gen. James A. Mollison, chairman, Public Affairs Committee, Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. JAMES A. MOLLISON, CHAIRMAN,
PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE
General MOLLISON. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, my name is James A. Mollison and I am chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade.
As have the previous witnesses, I thoroughly concur in the advantages that a Visitors Center will confer on Washington. This city is more than the Capital of the United States; it is in effect the capital of the free world. A Visitors Center housed as it will be in such a monumental building, in such attractive a setting is a most fitting and needed addition to Washington; therefore, Mr. Chairman, I can only add my support to such a concept as set forth in H.R. 12603.
For several years previously I have been chairman of the transportation committee of the board of trade. The growth of our city has been almost phenomenal and farmlands of but a few years ago are now not only individual houses but great apartment developments. The number of commuters pouring into the city daily is greatly increasing. Virtually all of this public transportation is by suburban buslines yet there is no terminal for such buses and their patrons must wait in the open in all weather. One terminal point is on Pennsylvania Avenue, another on 11th Street. Both these congest the traffic. With the completion of the new FBI building on the north side of the avenue, the Federal Triangle across from it, plus the number of others whose destination is downtown, a solution must be found for this transportation congestion and inconvenience to our citizens. The exposition transportation project of the civic groups provides modern terminals for commuters, and through the use of the center leg will take about 60 percent of these buses off the city streets as well as materially reducing their schedules.
The present subway plan provides ideal redistribution to all of downtown as well as to the Visitors Center. It might be said that as the subway expands in future years there will be less space required for suburban terminals. This is true and the space now planned for their use can be, from the studies that have been made, easily diverted to other uses. Washington is estimated to have a population of 4 to 5 million by the year 2000 and from studies we have made there will always be alternate uses available in the exposition transportation project.
May I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to have expressed my support for the Visitors Center. I also hope that is my remarks I have been able to at least indicate the close co-relation between it and that of the civic groups in Washington, D.C.
Mr. GRAY. Thank you, General Mollison; that was a very fine statement. We appreciate the support the Washington Board of Trade is giving this proposal.
Are these any questions from any of the members of the committee?
Mr. ScHWENGEL. I have an observation that I want to make. I am in complete sympathy about what all of you have said about the advantages of this Visitors Center to Washington, D.C., and to the people here. This is grand and fine, and I hope you all become millionaires as a result.
But I would hope all of you would say that you are doing this for the people who come here who need to learn about this great complex. I would like to have all of you reflect on your statements and add to that thought. I would not want the Nation to think that you people are all doing this for your own benefit. All of us, I think, should have the attitude we are doing this for the Nation's benefit and the people who come here, who need a place to park, who need to have a better opportunity to see the facilities, and the opportunity here to learn.
This I know is what you are thinking about, but you ought to say so.
General MOLLISON. I agree with you, sir. I think we should because if we can make this a pleasant place to visit, we will get more visitors.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. That is right. You do not have to talk about the advantages, the advantages will come with the service you give.
General MOLLISON. That is right. (Extended remarks follow :)
EXTENDED REMARKS TO STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. JAMES A. MOLLISON (RETIRED)
I am very pleased with the attention given me in my testimony of September 13, and appreciate the opportunity which the unanimous consent of the committee gives me to extend my remarks. Many factors regarding traffic requirements ve been given serious thought in the Exposition and Transportation Center project. There will be a car reservoir area inside the complex to prevent lines of cars on adjacent streets waiting entrance for parking, and thus congesting traffic. Likewise there will be sufficient exits in order that there will be no traffic stoppage in rush hours. Provision will be made for those buses, principally suburban, which wish to travel on the city streets instead of the Center leg. Facilities will be included for trucks servicing the exhibits, stores, and restaurants in the building.
Of importance is the planning of pedestrian movement, between levels, for the infirm or handicapped. I make reference to all of the above to assure the committee that we are including such features in our initial designs.
There is, however, one point regarding this complex that has not yet been mentioned. It will be, to my knowledge, the largest practical fall-out shelter in the country. While naturally it is hoped it will never be needed for this purpose, such shelters cannot be improvised in the threat of imminent attack, yet due to its design of three underground levels, it is particularly adaptable for such a purpose. Megaton H-bombs achieve maximum effect by air bursts, the optimum height depending on the size of the bomb. Ground bursts blast tremendous craters, far deeper than the lowest level we plan, but do not cause so widespread destruction. While an air burst through its fire ball, its lethal rays and the hurricane winds it causes, would be instantly fatal to anyone on the surface, these effects are minimized underground, even if the burst was directly overhead. This would be by sheer chance.
The Exposition and Transportation Center is within running distance of eighty to one hundred thousand people. Once inside, their chances of survival would be tremendously increased. The availability of access to the subway, or even the Center leg, if the latter can be cleared, would also offer an opportunity for evacuation after the attack.
The entire complex is to be built with commercial funds; the underground structure as a fall-out shelter would be at no cost to the government. We would be happy to work with the appropriate agencies so that emergency use could be made of the underground areas for this purpose.
EXTENDED REMARKS OF LEONARD B. DOGGETT, JR., PRESIDENT, THE
METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE The unanimous consent of the Committee to extend my remarks is genuinely appreciated. I would like to make reference to certain programs for the betterment of Washington in which our organization is taking the leadership.
We have made clear our support for the proposed "Exposition and Transportation Center” and the Visitors Center at Union Station. I would like to point out some very important additional benefits to our National Capital which will flow from the construction and operation of these facilities.
The Board of Trade is fully committed to programs designed to generate employment opportunities and strengthen the economic health of Metropolitan Washington based upon a dynamic and progressive central city.
We are deeply involved in developing ways to provide new job opportunities for all of our citizens. The Exposition and Transportation Center will provide several thousand such new opportunities. We believe the health of this city depends upon maintaining a mutually beneficial balance between private business development and the expanding needs of the United States Government in its Federal City. In view of the steadily growing federal establishment from a physical and land use point of view, the Board of Trade believes that a project with the potential of the Exposition and Transportation Center should be welcomed with open arms. The creation of jobs in large quantity without the use of federal funds is difficult to achieve in our non-industrial area and the Exposition and Transportation Center is, in our judgment, a tremendous opportunity to do just that. We want to emphasize that in the midst of a host of critical problems facing this urban area, we believe the prospect of several thousand new jobs, many of which would be open to our disadvantaged citizens, is a big “plus” factor that should not be overlooked.
Equally of importance is the great need to expand the tax base of the District of Columbia. The new District Government is faced with a host of critical problems and virtually every effort to solve them requires huge amounts of tax dollars. We understand the annual real estate tax alone on the Exposition and Transportation Center is estimated at $3,500,000 per year, a very substantial sum. For example, this figure is two and one-half times the 1966 tax revenue realized from the Southwest Urban Renewal Area, a federal urban renewal project begun in the District of Columbia in 1954. It is more than two and one-half times as much money as is being recommended for vocational education operations in D.C. in the 1968 budget. Therefore, in a city where about half the land area is not on the tax rolls and where the need for revenue is so urgent, the Board of Trade believes that every reasonable opportunity to generate tax dollars should be encouraged. The Exposition and Transportation Center represents, as far as we know, the largest single proposal for completely private development that has ever been made in the District of Columbia.
The Board of Trade has, throughout its 78-year history, recognized and supported the predominant federal interest in Washington. Both the Visitors' Center and the Exposition and Transportation Center will be facilities of national importance. This city belongs to all the citizens of the United States. The Visitors' Center and the Exposition and Transportation Center will be imaginative additions to Washington serving all the millions of people who will come to visit their National Capital. Indeed, if we do not provide adequate visitors' facilities and greatly improve the transportation system of our city, it may well be that within a few years the Nation's Capital will not be considered a convenient and attractive city to visit.
I appreciate the opportunity to present this additional testimony in support of the proposed Visitors' Center and the Exposition and Transportation Center. Thank you.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. All of you ought to speak more of this and think more of this.
Mr. GRAY. Very good point from the gentleman from Iowa.
The next witness is Mr. Claude A. Jessup, eastern chairman, Continental Trailways Bus Systems. I am delighted to see you, Mr. Jessup, and appreciate your coming this morning.
STATEMENT OF CLAUDE A. JESSUP, PRESIDENT, EASTERN
CONTINENTAL TRAILWAYS BUS SYSTEMS
Mr. JESSUP. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Claude A. Jessup, and I am president of the Eastern Continental Trailways Bus Systems. Our corporation and that of Greyhound Lines are the two major interstate buslines in the country. Beside our regularly scheduled operations we charter buses from all parts of the country to many groups for many purposes. A great number of these visit Washington and heretofore had had no destinations in the city save hotels or motels. I am completely in accord with the concept of a Visitors Center as proposed in H.R. 12603 and consider this will provide an excellent opportunity for these groups to secure full information upon their arrival in the city. While this is not specifically mentioned in the bill, I respectfully suggest that chartered buses, of all lines, debark at the Visitors Center upon their arrival. I do not believe that this would unduly congest the traffic situation on the station plaza, or the immediately adjacent streets. I feel for these reasons that H.R. 12603 will fill a long needed and necessary improvement to Washington.
Beside our chartered service we also have regularly scheduled bus service to all parts of the United States. We, and Greyhound, carry a tremendous number of passengers on these scheduled runs. Our annual number of passengers initiating, terminating, or passing through Washington amounts to 4 million. This requires an average of 360 individual buses arriving or departing daily from the city. Each of these buses is 8 feet by 32 feet in dimension, or 320 square feet. So many buses on the streets around the Union Station would absorb so much of the available street surface as to result in very heavy congestion. If added to this were the Greyhound buses, it becomes apparent why we also are in complete agreement with the transportation exposition project which has been endorsed by the civic groups of Washington as set forth here today.
Our buses require loading docks for both passengers and baggage. It is not unusual for a bus to dock for 30 minutes or more. Yet due to our growing volume of business our present terminal facilities in Washington are completely inadequate. We have a daily problem to find space for arrivals and departures and holidays but multiply our difficulties. The terminals planned for the project being presented to your committee will solve our constantly growing needs for many years in the future.
I am sure, Mr. Chairman, that you are aware of the history of the New York Port Authority bus terminal. As originally built, this was considered to be adequate for an indefinite period. Within a few years it became necessary, at more than the original cost, to rebuild it to more than double its original size. The Washington project has not made this mistake, and equally important has provided for direct access without street congestion.
Since buslines offer the lowest cost public transportation facilities between cities, our patrons generally use other public transportation to and from our terminal. Therefore, the transportation interchange concept to suburban buses, the subway, and local buses is of prime importance to us also because of the convenience it offers our customers.