A-83578, MAY 24, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1024

A-83578: May 24, 1937

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MUNITIONS OF WAR WHERE THE APPROACHES TO THE BRIDGES ARE FREE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS. BY RURAL LETTER CARRIER NO. 2 IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES DURING THE TIME TOLL WAS COLLECTED FROM ALL OTHER PATRONS. APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED OCTOBER 9. BY RURAL LETTER CARRIER NO. 2 IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES DURING THE TIME TOLL IS COLLECTED FROM ALL OTHER PATRONS. APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED MARCH 17. THE PROPOSALS IN BOTH CASES WERE EXPRESSLY MADE SUBJECT TO ALL PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTES OF THE UNITED STATES AND REGULATIONS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPLICABLE THERETO AND TO TERMINATION OR CHANGE IN USE OR SERVICE BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL AT ANY TIME. VOUCHERS ARE BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR $15 AND $10.

A-83578, MAY 24, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1024

BRIDGES - TOLLS - RURAL LETTER CARRIERS IN PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES THE GENERAL BRIDGE ACT OF MARCH 23, 1906, 34 STAT. 84, RELIEVING THE GOVERNMENT OF TOLL CHARGES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF ITS MAILS, TROOPS, AND MUNITIONS OF WAR WHERE THE APPROACHES TO THE BRIDGES ARE FREE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS, HAVING BEEN MADE EXPRESSLY APPLICABLE BY THE ACT OF JUNE 27, 1930, 46 STAT. 821, TO BRIDGES CONSTRUCTED PRIOR THERETO UNDER ACTS SPECIFICALLY RESERVING TO THE CONGRESS THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL SAME, AGREEMENTS WITH BRIDGE COMPANIES FOR THE USE OF SUCH BRIDGES, FOR A STIPULATED YEARLY CONSIDERATION, BY RURAL LETTER CARRIERS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES, EXPRESSLY MADE SUBJECT TO UNITED STATES STATUTES, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS, AND TERMINATION AT ANY TIME, CREATE NO LEGAL OBLIGATION, AND SHOULD BE CANCELED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MAY 24, 1937:

UNDER THE TERMS OF AN OFFER MADE AUGUST 19, 1915, THE DUBUQUE AND WISCONSIN BRIDGE CO., IN CONSIDERATION OF THE PAYMENT OF $60 PER ANNUM, PROPOSED TO PERMIT THE USE OF ITS BRIDGE SPANNING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT DUBUQUE, IOWA, BY RURAL LETTER CARRIER NO. 2 IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES DURING THE TIME TOLL WAS COLLECTED FROM ALL OTHER PATRONS, IT BEING UNDERSTOOD THAT SAID RATE DID NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST RATES CHARGED ANY PORTION OF THE PUBLIC. THE PROPOSAL OF THE BRIDGE COMPANY ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE POSTMASTER AT DUBUQUE, IOWA, APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED OCTOBER 9, 1915.

UNDER THE TERMS OF AN OFFER MADE JANUARY 20, 1917, THE LOUISA AND FORT GAY BRIDGE CO., IN CONSIDERATION OF PAYMENT OF $40 PER ANNUM, PROPOSED TO PERMIT THE USE OF ITS BRIDGE ACROSS THE LEVISA FORK OF THE BIG SANDY RIVER AT LOUISA, KY., BY RURAL LETTER CARRIER NO. 2 IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES DURING THE TIME TOLL IS COLLECTED FROM ALL OTHER PATRONS, IT BEING UNDERSTOOD THAT SAID RATE DID NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST RATES CHARGED ANY PORTION OF THE PUBLIC. THE PROPOSAL OF THE BRIDGE COMPANY ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE POSTMASTER AT LOUISA, KY., APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED MARCH 17, 1917. THE PROPOSALS IN BOTH CASES WERE EXPRESSLY MADE SUBJECT TO ALL PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTES OF THE UNITED STATES AND REGULATIONS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPLICABLE THERETO AND TO TERMINATION OR CHANGE IN USE OR SERVICE BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL AT ANY TIME.

VOUCHERS ARE BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR $15 AND $10, RESPECTIVELY, IN FAVOR OF THE DUBUQUE AND WISCONSIN BRIDGE CO. AND THE LOUISA AND FORT GAY BRIDGE CO., REPRESENTING TOLL CHARGES UNDER THE AFOREMENTIONED AGREEMENTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 1936, AND IN THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PROPRIETY OF PAYING THESE ITEMS, THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER PERTINENT STATUTORY ENACTMENTS AUTHORIZE PAYMENT BY THE UNITED STATES OF CHARGES FOR TRANSMISSION OF ITS MAILS OVER THE SAID BRIDGES IN EXCESS OF THE RATE PER MILE PAID FOR THE TRANSMISSION OVER ANY RAILROAD, STREET RAILWAY, OR PUBLIC HIGHWAY LEADING TO SAID BRIDGES.

THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, WAR DEPARTMENT, REPORTED THAT THE BRIDGE OF THE DUBUQUE AND WISCONSIN BRIDGE CO. ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT DUBUQUE, IOWA, WAS CONSTRUCTED UNDER AUTHORITY OF AN ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED MARCH 6, 1900, 31 STAT. 41, AND THE BRIDGE OF THE LOUISA AND FORT GAY BRIDGE CO. ACROSS THE LEVISA FORK OF THE BIG SANDY RIVER AT LOUISA, KY., WAS AUTHORIZED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED MARCH 3, 1905, 33 STAT. 1015.

SECTIONS 5 AND 6 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 6, 1900, 31 STAT. 41, 42, PROVIDE:

SEC. 5. THAT THE BRIDGE BUILT UNDER THIS ACT AND SUBJECT TO ITS LIMITATIONS SHALL BE A LAWFUL STRUCTURE, AND SHALL BE KNOWN AND RECOGNIZED AS A POST ROUTE, AND IT SHALL ENJOY THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF OTHER POST-ROADS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND EQUAL PRIVILEGES IN THE USE OF SAID BRIDGE SHALL BE GRANTED TO ALL TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANIES; AND THE UNITED STATES SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY ACROSS SAID BRIDGE AND ITS APPROACHES FOR POSTAL-TELEGRAPH PURPOSES.

SEC. 6. THAT THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL THIS ACT IS HEREBY EXPRESSLY RESERVED.

SECTIONS 4 AND 6 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1905, 33 STAT. 1015 PROVIDE:

SEC. 4. THAT THE BRIDGE CONSTRUCTED, MAINTAINED, AND OPERATED UNDER THIS ACT, AND ACCORDING TO ITS LIMITATIONS, SHALL BE A LAWFUL STRUCTURE, AND SHALL BE RECOGNIZED AND KNOWN AS A POST ROUTE, AND NO HIGHER CHARGE SHALL BE MADE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OVER THE SAME AND OVER THE APPROACHES THERETO OF THE MAILS, TROOPS, AND MUNITIONS OF WAR OF THE UNITED STATES THAN IS CHARGED FOR LIKE SERVICES FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC; AND THE UNITED STATES SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY FOR POSTAL TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE PURPOSES OVER SAID BRIDGE AND APPROACHES; AND EQUAL PRIVILEGES IN THE USE OF SAID BRIDGE AND APPROACHES SHALL BE GRANTED TO ALL TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANIES; AND IF SAID BRIDGE SHALL BE CONSTRUCTED AS A RAILROAD BRIDGE ALL RAILROAD COMPANIES DESIRING THE USE THEREOF SHALL HAVE AND BE ENTITLED TO EQUAL RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES RELATIVE TO THE PASSAGE OF TRAINS AND CARS OVER THE SAME AND OVER THE APPROACHES THERETO, UPON PAYMENT OF A REASONABLE COMPENSATION FOR SUCH USE, AND IN CASE OF DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES IN REGARD TO THE COMPENSATION TO BE PAID OR THE CONDITIONS TO BE OBSERVED, ALL MATTERS AT ISSUE SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR.

SEC. 6. THAT THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL THIS ACT IS HEREBY EXPRESSLY RESERVED.

SECTION 17 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1930, 46 STAT. 552, PROVIDES:

IN THE CASE OF BRIDGES HERETOFORE AUTHORIZED BY ACTS OF CONGRESS SPECIFICALLY RESERVING TO CONGRESS THE RIGHT TO SUBSEQUENTLY REGULATE TOLLS ON SUCH BRIDGES, SUCH BRIDGES SHALL, IN RESPECT OF THE REGULATION OF ALL TOLLS, BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO REGULATE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGES OVER NAVIGABLE WATERS," APPROVED MARCH 23, 1906.

THE ACT OF JUNE 27, 1930, CHAPTER 640, 46 STAT. 821, PROVIDES:

THAT ANY BRIDGE AUTHORIZED, PRIOR TO MARCH 23, 1906, BY ACT OF CONGRESS SPECIFICALLY RESERVING TO CONGRESS THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL SUCH ACT, SHALL, IN RESPECT OF THE REGULATION OF ALL TOLLS, BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO REGULATE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGES OVER NAVIGABLE WATERS," APPROVED MARCH 23, 1906.

SEC. 2. THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL THIS ACT IS HEREBY EXPRESSLY RESERVED.

SECTIONS 2 AND 4 OF THE GENERAL BRIDGE ACT OF MARCH 23, 1906, 34 STAT. 84, 86, PROVIDE:

SEC. 2. THAT ANY BRIDGE BUILT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL BE A LAWFUL STRUCTURE AND SHALL BE RECOGNIZED AND KNOWN AS A POST ROUTE, UPON WHICH NO HIGHER CHARGE SHALL BE MADE FOR THE TRANSMISSION OVER THE SAME OF THE MAILS, THE TROOPS, AND THE MUNITIONS OF WAR OF THE UNITED STATES THAN THE RATE PER MILE PAID FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OVER ANY RAILROAD, STREET RAILWAY, OR PUBLIC HIGHWAY LEADING TO SAID BRIDGE; AND THE UNITED STATES SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONSTRUCT, MAINTAIN, AND REPAIR, WITHOUT ANY CHARGE THEREFOR, TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE LINES ACROSS AND UPON SAID BRIDGE AND ITS APPROACHES; AND EQUAL PRIVILEGES IN THE USE OF SAID BRIDGE AND ITS APPROACHES SHALL BE GRANTED TO ALL TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANIES.

SEC. 4. * * * IF TOLLS SHALL BE CHARGED FOR THE TRANSIT OVER ANY BRIDGE CONSTRUCTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, OF ENGINES, CARS, STREET CARS, WAGONS, CARRIAGES, VEHICLES, ANIMALS, FOOT PASSENGERS, OR OTHER PASSENGERS, SUCH TOLLS SHALL BE REASONABLE AND JUST, AND THE SECRETARY OF WAR MAY, AT ANY TIME, AND FROM TIME TO TIME, PRESCRIBE THE REASONABLE RATES OF TOLL FOR SUCH TRANSIT OVER SUCH BRIDGE, AND THE RATES SO PRESCRIBED SHALL BE THE LEGAL RATES AND SHALL BE THE RATES DEMANDED AND RECEIVED FOR SUCH TRANSIT.

IN A-75335, DATED OCTOBER 26, 1936, PUBLISHED 16 COMP. GEN. 427, THERE WAS CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH AN ASSERTED OBLIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES TO PAY TOLL CHARGES FOR MOVEMENT OF ITS TROOPS OVER THE MID-HUDSON BRIDGE AT POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y., THE HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION RELATIVE TO THE REGULATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGES OVER NAVIGABLE WATERS UNDER THE CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY OF THE CONGRESS TO REGULATE COMMERCE WITH FOREIGN NATIONS AND AMONG THE SEVERAL STATES, AND IN GIVING PROPER EFFECT TO SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 23, 1906, IT WAS HELD THAT THE UNITED STATES IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY TOLL CHARGES FOR THE MOVEMENT OF ITS MAILS, TROOPS, AND MUNITIONS OF WAR OVER BRIDGES CONSTRUCTED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THAT ACT.

AS REPORTED BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, THE PARTICULAR BRIDGES OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE DUBUQUE AND WISCONSIN BRIDGE CO., AND THE LOUISA AND FORT GAY BRIDGE CO. WERE CONSTRUCTED PRIOR TO ENACTMENT OF THE GENERAL BRIDGE ACT OF MARCH 23, 1906, AND STANDING ALONE THE TOLL PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT MAY NOT PROPERLY BE GIVEN RETROACTIVE APPLICATION, BUT THE ACT OF JUNE 27, 1930, IN EXPRESS LANGUAGE SUBJECTED BRIDGES AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO MARCH 23, 1906 (WHERE THE PRIOR AUTHORIZING ACT SPECIFICALLY RESERVED TO THE CONGRESS THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL SUCH ACT), TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 23, 1906, IN RESPECT OF THE REGULATION OF ALL TOLL CHARGES, AND SINCE THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND, OR REPEAL THE ACTS OF MARCH 6, 1900, AND MARCH 3, 1905, WAS EXPRESSLY RESERVED BY THE UNITED STATES, THE RESTRICTIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 2 OF THE GENERAL BRIDGE ACT RELIEVING THE GOVERNMENT OF TOLL CHARGES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF ITS MAILS, TROOPS, AND MUNITIONS OF WAR WHERE THE APPROACHES LEADING TO THE BRIDGES ARE FREE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS, ARE APPLICABLE TO THE SAME EXTENT AS THOUGH THE AFORESAID ACTS OF MARCH 6, 1900, AND MARCH 3, 1905, HAD ON JUNE 27, 1930, BEEN EXPRESSLY AMENDED BY ADDITION THERETO OF THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE GENERAL BRIDGE ACT OF MARCH 23, 1906, RESPECTING THE REGULATIONS OF ALL TOLLS.

INASMUCH AS THERE EXISTS NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT PAY TOLL CHARGES FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF ITS MAILS OVER THE BRIDGES IN QUESTION AT LEAST SINCE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 27, 1930, THE AGREEMENTS HEREINBEFORE REFERRED TO CAN CREATE NO SUCH OBLIGATION. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENTS UNDER THE AGREEMENTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 1936, ARE NOT AUTHORIZED AND STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO TERMINATE THE CONTRACTS OF OCTOBER 9, 1915, AND MARCH 17, 1917.