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Newspaper Page Text
SIKES BARES MERGER
Before the City Club today George
C. Sikes, former secretary Chicago
Street Railway Commission, opposed
a stock jobbing merger and favored
Heigave the history of franchises
from 1858, when the first grant was
made, and jumped on the present
proposed merger as outrageous.
The scheme is to take the surface
lines at $134,000,000 and the elevated
lines at $80,000,000 a total of $214,
000,000. The merger to spend for
subways and improvements enough
to carry the capitalization above
And then have the city grant an
unlimited franchise to the merger
to be terminated only Toy the city
buying the whole thing.
Additional legislation would be
necessary, as grants are limited to
20 years by existing law.
So if the city never could raise
$300,000,000 in cash the graht would
The financial plan provides for
payment first of operating expenses,
taxes, renewals and maintenance
charges; then 7 per cent to the com
pany on recognized value. (It is "5
per cent now.) Then if there's any
thing left, 70 per cent goes to
amortization fund to wipe out the
Mr. Sikes says the powerful, back
ers of-the traction combine would
mix up in politics to holds down the
pity's borrowing power, so municipal
ownership would be impossible and
the franchise perpetual. .
He says the traction promoters
want to pTit.tthrough one" more big
speculative deal ; and that Mayor
Harrison and his law department
stand sponsors for proposed legisla
tion more vicious than the notorious
Allen law of 1897, which Mayor Har
rison then helped to have repealed.
Speaking of the enabling acts, Mr.
Sikes said: "For downright vicious
ness and diabolical cleverness these
bills which, are the. joirit work of
the city law department and of the
corporation attorneys, and which was
sent to the city council with an ap
proving message by Mayor Harri
son beat anything I have ever seen.
And during the 20 years that I have
been watching street railway legisla
tion in Illinois I have known some
pretty tough measures."
He said the powers conferred by
these bills are broa'd enough' to pave
the way for a great railroad terminal
scheme a merger of surface, sub
way, and elevated lines within a ter
ritory taking in Chicago and every
thing within 25 miles of the city lim
its with unlimited powers of con
solidation of railroads of any and all
kinds, and without the consent or ap
proval of the city.
The referendum feature is a delu
sion and a sham for there is no ref
erendum on either bill. Both be
came effective when passed.
Mr. Sikes said the time has come
to urge early municipalization of the
street -railway lines in Chicago as a
common-sense business proposition.
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