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in interest, that does not build 1 mile of road, that perhaps if the Federal gasoline tax were raised to 3 cents, an additional cent, and, let us say, the various States were encouraged to raise the gasoline tax to 8 cents—yours is presently 612 cents, is it not?
Mr. STOLDT. Six and one-half; yes, sir.
Senator NEUBERGER. What would you think of that? In other words, more of a pay-as-you-go business and more money going into pavement and less into interest?
Mr. STOLDT. It is my opinion—and again I add that it is my personal opinion, and I am not speaking for anybody other than myselfthat there would be very little objection in Oklahoma to an increase in the Federal gasoline tax; but I do not believe you could ever increase the State gasoline tax in Oklahoma.
And, again this is my opinion, but I think that the administration in Oklahoma would be opposed to an increase in the gasoline tax. Personally I would be in favor of it.
Senator NEC BERGER. Along this line, is it not true, that if they have to be paid for, according to the Clay report, it will cost $1112 billion in interest charges, which, as you know, does not build a bridge or a culvert or buy 1 foot of pavement, and if it were presented to the people of Oklahoma or my State of Oregon, do you not think they might be willing to have an increase not only in Federal but in State taxes rather than have such an enormous portion go into the banks rather than to the contractors that build roads?
Mr. STOLDT. I think that you are correct; I think that they could be sold.
Senator NEUBERGER. I know so little about this, but it seems to me that is such a key to this thing I think you need the system, but so much of it goes into interest charges, and the thing that impresses me, Mr. Chairman-I am not very adept at these things—but when the national administration says to us that we should not put this tax cut into effect and run up the deficit, but on the other hand, they encourage a deficit to build the roads—that is two different fiscal policies.
They are encouraging us to have an enormous deficit for high interest rates to build roads, and yet they are opposed to these tax cuts because ostensibly it is a bad time, and the national debt is so large.
Senator GORE. I would like to ask a question, and then, Senator Kerr, you will be recognized.
Under the Clay plan, is it not contemplated that under that plan an additional $54 billion is needed in the next 10 years in this bill above the $101 billion program?
Mr. STOLDT. That is as I understand it; yes, sir.
Senator GORE. Of that $54 billion the administration hopes to spend $25 billion additional for the funds?
Mr. STOLDT. Yes, sir.
Senator GORE. That would leave $29 billion for the States to spend over and above their present rate of expenditure during the next 10 years.
Oklahoma's apportionment of the present road funds is approximately 2 percent. Oklahoma's apportionment under the Clay plan to rest on top of what she is now spending in the next 10 years will be $580 million.
How do you think Oklahoma will go about raising $580 million?
Mr. STOLDT. I do not believe that Oklahoma could do that. We have this: that our legal percentage, earmarked percent of our gas and highway users' tax, has an increment in increase in it of about $800,000 to $900,000 a year.
That, of course, is naturally because there are more vehicle miles driven, more gasoline used; so there is an increment of increase in there.
It would be hard to predict when the saturation point would be raised there, but our revenue, we can assume, will be about $1 million more for each year.
Senator GORE. That is a long way from $580 million.
Mr. STOLDT. But I do not believe that there is any way in Oklahoma-and I have seen this kicked around every session of the legislature so long that I do not believe there is any way for the highway department to get a larger share of the highway users' tax than they are now getting, and that is approximately one-third of the highway users' taxes collected.
Senator GORE. Let me check my figures with you. Am I not correct, as a rough average, that Oklahoma now receives about 2 percent of the Federal apportionment of highway funds?
Mr. Stolbr. That is right; yes, sir.
Senator GORE. I thought that was correct. Then if we assume that your proportion of that additional money to be spent by the States by the Clay plan would follow that same percentage, Oklahoma's share of the Clay plan—that is the share which Oklahoma would be expected to raise of the Clay plan in the next 10 years—would be $580 million ?
Mr. STOLDT. Yes, sir.
Senator Gore. Then to summarize again, following up Senator Thurmond's summary and mine earlier, you believe it is necessary that the Federal Government assume a much larger proportion of the cost of the interstate roads. You doubt otherwise that the people of your State would be willing to contribute their share of the development, but you prefer that the control of the highway and construction program and the acquisition of the rights-of-way follow the line of traditional State's rights; in other words, you would like to see the present program expanded with a much larger share in the Interstate System paid by the Federal Government, is that correct? Mr. STOLDT. That is correct.
Senator KERR. As a matter of basic principle, Mr. Stoldt, do you think that the States should have the present degree of control with reference to these highways-primary, urban, and interstate and secondary-contructed by both the State and Federal Government? Do you think the State should have the same amount of control, less control, or more control?
Mr. STOLDr. I think they should have the same control that they now have over these roads. I think that the projects should be administered in the same way that they now are.
Senator KERR. In spite of the fact that you think the Federal Government should pay in reality all of the costs of the military system and in view of the fact that the obligation is going to be on the States to maintain them after they are built, you think the State should have the same degree of control over them that they have over the other Federal-aid highways?
Mr. STOLDT. That is correct; yes, sir.
Senator KERR. Do you think that either this Interstate System should be strictly a military or defense highway and paid 100 percent by the Federal Government or if less than that, then you really think these specifications should be relaxed ?
Mr. STOLDT. Yes, sir; I do.
Senator KERR. I believe that you have made clear here—you have to me and I want it to be for the record-at this time in Oklahoma, there are paved highways and in some areas four-lane highways along the routes generally designated as being a part of the Interstate System, which are Highway 66 going south west or generally west and a little north of east, and 77 going generally north and south, and 62 going generally east and west.
But, it is your understanding that if this Interstate System is built, while it would be along the routes of 66, 62, and 77, it would be on new right-of-way and new roads, entirely separate and apart from the present right-of-ways and the present roads over those routes ?
Mr. STOLDT. That is definitely correct if we have to follow these specifications.
Senator KERR. Do you think that if the specifications were relaxed so that the present rights-of-way generally could be utilized and widened and bypasses provided where that could not be the case that for the foreseeable future, it would be a better overall program than to make them entirely new rights-of-way in an entirely new project, separate and apart from those now operated ?
Jir. STOLDT. Senator, I am in definite agreement with the statement that you have made. Construction costs would be materially reduced if the required standards were relaxed to where we could probably widen and resurface the existing slab and build another slab paralleling the existing slab, making a four-lane, divided highway in some instances; we would
have to go to new alinement. Senator KERR. Then I say where necessary make new alinement.
Mr. STOLDT. But I say considering the 800 miles, I would say that 90 percent of that mileage could be used and where we would have to acquire additional right-of-way to build the parallel lanes, we would not be able to have the controlled access and safety factors that this system would require and that this memorandum would require.
In other words, Oklahoma, like a lot of other States, was laid off in sections. Naturally every mile there is an intersection with the section line there. That is one thing that makes that so rough there on us in Oklahoma.
Some other States that do not have a road every mile are not confronted with that problem; but I feel that for the present time, it would be for Oklahoma a far better program than is contemplated by this, if we could make a four-lane divided highway where possible on the existing alinement, and not lose the value of that right-of-way and that slab and base that we have got there.
Senator KERR. And while you and I both realize it would not meet the ultimate objective set forth in this memorandum and in the minds of those talking about this program, am I correct in believing that you agree with me that it would be a far more practical and foreseeable project to try to let our first objective be the development along the present highways than to make that change and throw them entirely aside so far as your Interstate System is concerned and build an entirely new one?
Mr. STOLDT. I am in complete agreement with you on that, and I am sure that in that instance I can speak for the people in Oklahoma that they would definitely be more favorable to such a program.
Senator KERR. Do you not think they would be far more agreeable to even stretching themselves in the matter of financing if we developed a program along the lines of S. 1048, following that principle which would greatly accelerate the overall program-farm to market, community to community, secondary, primary, and urban, and then in addition to that even put more emphasis on the Interstate System; which generally I feel should be put on it if the Federal Government were paying at the rates as outlined in the Clay proposal, and a good part of all roads, for instance, instead of inaugurating a program wherein practically all of the acceleration would be on an Interstate System and very rigid specifications and rights-of-way, both of which would be unsatisfactory to the people of Oklahoma at this time?
Mr. STOLDr. Such a program would receive much more favor in Oklahoma than the program we are talking about.
Senator KERR. Do you not think that all of the problems that were discussed by the chairman and by you and by Senators Thurmond and McNamara, which we recognize, safety problems, and so forth, while they would not be entirely solved, would be greatly alleviated by such a program?
Mr. Stolor. Definitely.
Senator THURMOND. I would like to ask a question in this connection, if you do not mind.
Senator Gore. Certainly, Senator Thurmond.
Senator THURMOND. Do you have filling stations and stores and commercial establishments along your present road system?
Mr. STOLDT. Yes, sir; we do. There has been very little controlled access highway constructed in Oklahoma. The last legislature 2 years ago gave the highway commission authority to acquire access rights, and we, since that time, have acquired access rights and constructed controlled access facilities in the various locations.
But on your existing conditions on these interstate routes, of course, being old roads, like I said built in the twenties, there was no need for controlled access at that time, and we do have filling stations and motels and business of various kinds all along the right-of-way.
Senator THURMOND. Would it not be quite a problem, even a terrific obstacle, to have to purchase all those improvements to widen an existing road rather than going over here and building a new road through virgin territory, so to speak?
Mr. STOLDT. That is true, but we have many, many miles of rural highway that we would not have the problem of having the filling stations. It is just mile after mile.
The things that you have mentioned there would, of course, be a definite problem in urban areas, but I think that everybody is in agreement, even most of the folks in Oklahoma are in agreement, that the time has come when the towns are going to have to be bypassed by these major highways so in that instance I would say that you would have to build a new road around most towns.
Senator THURMOND. So there would be a new road after all, would there not, a great portion of it anyway?
Mr. STOLDT. No; not a great portion of it.
Senator KERR. He estimated it would not be over 10 percent of the mileage to do that.
Senator THURMOND. Do you think that type of road would be as safe a road as this road you spoke about a few minutes ago?
Mr. STOLDT. No, sir; it definitely would not be as safe as a controlled-access road.
Senator THURMOND. That would still save many lives lost and injuries to people and property damage under those circumstances; would it not?
Mr. STOLDT. That is true. I say that your accident ratio on this road would be higher than it would be on a controlled-access road. However, it would be a much safer road than the road that we now have.
Senator KERR. You say 2 years ago that they gave you the authority to start toward the acquiring of access rights? Mr. STOLDT. Yes, sir. Senator KERR. And you have made a start in that direction? Mr. STOLDT. That is correct.
Senator KERR. Do you not think that the people will feel better about it if you go ahead on the basis of that right and let the resistance decrease rather than just cut everything off here and say from now on it will be 100 percent implemented and do you not think the shock to that would be pretty violent?
Mr. STOLDT. We have discussed that with various groups. There was a group where towns on Highway 66 to the Texas line, Oklahoma City west, were represented, and they were discussing the improvement of Highway 66. We had to agree with the Bureau of Public Roads that it was not the final interstate route, because we definitely could not comply with those requirements.
Senator KERR. They compelled that agreement ?
Mr. STOLDT. That is right. Those towns have agreed out there that if you want to bypass Elk City, that we acquire access rights for that bypass and that we put a sign saying there were no services on that bypass; city route has all services, and so forth.
That pleased them because then they felt that that was going to satisfy all these people that depended on the highway traffic for their business.
Unless you did that, they had great objections to the bypass; but with that I think their objection to the bypass was gone.
In other words, they realized that everybody that wanted to buy gasoline was going to have to come in town to buy it, then they did not have such objection to the bypass.
Senator THURMOND. If this system of defense highways were constructed, in addition to going ahead with expanding your present road system, then you would overcome, of course, the objections that you raised; would you not?
Mr. StoLDT. Yes, sir.