Items of Interest

The Hepburn railroad rate regulation bill passed the Senate last week by a vote of 71 to 3. It authorizes the Interstate Commerce Commission to fix rates, which take effect in not less than thirty days, and continue in force two years. These rates may be contested only in the United States Circuit Courts and cannot be suspended by temporary injunction, except on five days' notice. Appeals from such injunctions can be taken within thirty days and have precedence. The Government is given authority over pipe lines, express, and sleeping car companies, which become common carriers. The granting of passes is forbidden, on penalty of a fine ranging from $100 to $2,000, but numerous exceptions, including railroad employes and families, and a long list of other persons, are made. Railroads are forbidden, after May 1, 1908, under heavy penalty, to transport from one State to another coal from their own mines. Switch connections with side tracks must be built when requested. Imprisonment penalty for railroad officials for rebating is restored, and heavy fines provided for shippers who accept rebates.

Secretary Taft was before the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce last week to urge the military necessity of a Government cable to Guantanamo, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Isthmus of Panama. "We are proceeding," he said, "upon the theory that we are to fortify the Panama Canal. With the conditions there as they are, and the United States under the responsibility of suppressing insurrections, and in a country where they have insurrections once a year, it makes communication a necessity." The total cost of a cable to touch at Cuba, Porto Rico, and Panama is estimated at $1,300,000. It could be laid by converting the army transport Summer into a cable ship at nominal cost.

Before thirty members, representing the Merchant Marine League of the United States, who called at the White House last week. President Roosevelt said he heartily favored the ship subsidy bill passed by the Senate and earnestly hoped the House would see its way clear to putting the bill through at this session.

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Victorious Warfare
May 26, 1906

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