Government Regulation of Railway Rates: A Study of the Experience of the United States, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Australia

By Hugo Richard Meyer | Go to book overview

astounding chapters from that experience will be found in the following pages.

The second problem, that of the reasonableness of rates per se, has all but disappeared in the United States. The Annual Report for 1898 of the Interstate Commerce Commission contains the statement: "It is true, as often asserted, that comparatively few of our railway rates are unreasonable in and of themselves--that is, without reference to other charges made by the same carrier, or to those of other carriers. . . . The cases are exceedingly rare in which unreasonableness has been found merely from the amount of the rate itself as laid upon the particular traffic and the distance it was carried." In March, 1898, the Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission testified before the Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce that the question of excessive railroad charges--"that is to say, railroad charges which in and of themselves are extortionate--is pretty much an obsolete question." It is true that a great deal has been made of the increases in railway freight charges made by the railway companies in 1900 and the subsequent years; and it has been alleged that the increase in the average receipts per ton-mile of freight carried, from 0.724 cent in 1899 to 0.757 cent in 1902, and to 0.763 cent in 1903, compels the conclusion that there is danger lest the recent consolidations of railways result in extortionate charges. President Hadley, of Yale University,

-xviii-

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