PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT - DOCUMENT SIGNED 04/27/1931 - HFSID 348039
Sale Price $4,250.00
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
As Governor of New York, he used this red, silver-tipped pen to sign a railroad bill creating the Board of Transit Control in 1931
Document Signed: "Franklin D Roosevelt", 1 page, 9x14½. Albany, New York. April 27, 1931. Certificate authenticating that FDR used the attached pen to sign Senate Bill 12, the railroad unification bill. In full: "THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the pen hereunto affixed was used by me in signing Senate Bill Introductory Number 12, Printed Number 2455, entitled: 'AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to the plan of readjustment provided for in article seven thereof, to authorize the creation of the board of transit control and subsidiary corporations, to prescribe its and their duties and powers, to exempt its and their properties, income and securities from taxation and to make such securities legal investments, and to authorize the acquisition and operation of railroads and other transportation facilities, and otherwise.' and which became a law by my signature April 23, 1931, being Chapter 689 of the Laws of 1931. GIVEN by my hand and the Privy Seal of the State at the Capitol in the City of Albany, this twenty-seventh day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty-one." Also signed by FDR's Secretary. 7½-inch red pen with silver tip affixed at left margin, 2½-inch diameter gold foil seal affixed at lower portion. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882-1945) served as Governor of New York from 1929-1933. He had signed the railroad unification bill four days earlier, on April 23, during the Great Depression, when railroads were facing a serious financial crisis. The bill authorized the creation of a Board of Transit Control, which was to improve transportation by acquiring, unifying and operating the railroads in New York. The Board was allowed to purchase, lease or recapture railroads; the object was for the state to buy the rails located within its boundaries at the same price it would pay to contract with the railroad company. The company could then use the money derived from this transaction to pay its debts to prevent bankruptcy. Since the Board was a state organization, its properties, income and securities were to be exempt from taxation. The unification bill is an example of the creative techniques which Roosevelt used, first as Governor then as President (1933-1945), to maintain business stability during the Depression and to lay the foundation for future economic growth. During the early 1930s, railroad companies faced extinction as increased use of automobiles, freight vans and buses resulted in decreased use of trains. As money became scarce during the Depression, people preferred the lower rates offered by buses and vans, even though the trip took longer. Between 1929 and 1932, the amount of freight carried by train decreased by fifty percent; this reduction resulted in a loss of revenue. President Hoover refused to interfere with business until 1932 when his Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) began loaning money to railroads and other industries facing bankruptcy. Prior to 1932, the states were forced to take action on their own. This act was the basis for President Roosevelt's Emergency Railroad Transportation Act which was passed by Congress on June 16, 1933. The ERTA strove to eliminate the duplication of services and facilities offered by different companies, promoted financial reorganization of the railroads and encouraged the study of other means to improve transportation. On September 17, 1932, Roosevelt detailed his plan regarding railroads during a presidential-campaign speech given in Salt Lake City, Utah. He stated that competition between railroads - acceptable during profitable times - was stressing financially-strained companies to a breaking point. Roosevelt suggested the consolidation of railroads under a national transportation policy that would include the regulation of buses and vans, thereby decreasing the unfair advantage given to the then unregulated motor carriers. This measure would meet the needs of the public by combining all the means of transportation into one network, thus allowing the most efficient routes to be created. The railroads did not support the ERTA; thus, the act was not highly successful. The RFC, with increased power under Roosevelt's New Deal, loaned money to railroads throughout the remainder of the Depression. The outbreak of WWII (1939-1945) resulted in rearmament programs that increased the production of U.S. industry, simultaneously augmenting the demand for railroads to deliver needed supplies. After the U.S. entered the war, railroad profits more than doubled - a peak not achieved since before WWI (1914-1918). Type faded but legible. Slightly creased. Light flecks from seal at lower portion. Fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 34½x22½.
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