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Pacific Railroad Acts as it Applies to Building the Physical Internet®

Without the Rule of Law capital cannot invest.

Federalist #62, Madison

"What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government? In a word, no great improvement or laudable enterprise can go forward which requires the auspices of a steady system of national policy."

Innovations are irrelavant as illustrated by the Mother of All Demos in 1968. The technologies of the Internet were well understood but could not commercialize until liberty was restored by the courts ruling the Federal communications monopoly unconstitutional in 1982. With the Rule of Law restored, capital invested and a century of rotary telephones was displaced by the Internet and cell networks.

The Solar Mobility Act will restore liberty to commercialize mobility networks that exceed the efficiency of road by 5 time. 

Pacific Railway Acts (1862-1874) provide a template for Federal involvement to rapidly change transportation infrastructure. Following are clips from key aspects of that series of laws:

<!-- Granting of Rights of Way -->
SEC. 2 . And be it further enacted. That the right of way through the public lands be, and the same is hereby, granted to said company for the construction of said railroad and telegraph line; and the right, power, and authority is hereby given to said company to take from the public lands adjacent to the line of said road, {See Sec. 3, 1864 .} earth, stone, timber, and other materials for the construction thereof; said right of way is granted to said railroad to the extent of’ two hundred feet in width on each side of said railroad, where it may pass over the public lands, including all necessary grounds for stations, buildings, workshops and depots, machine shops, switches, side tracks, turn-tables, and water stations. The United States shall extinguish as rapidly as may be, the Indian titles to all lands falling under the operation of this act, and required for the said right of way and grants hereinafter made.

<!-- Granting Lands to speed deployment -->
SEC. 3 . And be it further enacted. That there be, and is hereby, granted to the said company, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, and to secure the safe and speedy, transportation of the mails, troops, munitions of war, and public stores thereon, every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, {Changed Sec. 4, 1864 , and grant to twenty miles.} to the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles on each side of said road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United States, and to which a preemption or homestead claim may not have attached, at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed: {Minerals and timbers. Sec. 4, 1864 .} Provided, That all mineral lands shall be excepted from the operation of this act; but where the same shall contain timber, the timber thereon is hereby granted to said company. And all such lands so granted by this section which shall not be sold or disposed of by said company within three years after the entire road shall have been completed, shall be subject to settlement and pre-emption like other lands, at a price not exceeding one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, to be paid to said company. [[This was subsequently amended to expand the land grants and give mineral rights. This was intended to encourage additional capital investment]].

<!-- Granting Lands patents after completing 40 miles and each subsequent 40 miles -->
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted. That whenever said company shall have completed forty consecutive miles of any portion of said railroad or telegraph line ready for the service contemplated by this act, and supplied with all necessary drains, culverts, viaducts, crossings, sidings, bridges, turnouts, watering places, depots, equipments, furniture, and all other appurtenances of a first-class railroad —the rails and all the other iron used in the construction and equipment of said road to be American manufacture of the best quality, the President of the United States shall appoint three commissioners to examine the same and report to him in relation thereto; and if it shall appear to him that forty consecutive miles of said railroad and telegraph line have been completed and equipped in all respects as required by this act, then, upon certificate of said commissioners to that effect, patents shall issue conveying the right and title to said lands to said company, on each side of the road, as far as the same is completed, to the amount aforesaid; and patents shall in like manner issue as each forty miles of said railroad and telegraph line are completed, upon certificate of said commissioners. Any vacancies occurring in said board of commissioners by death, resignation, or otherwise, shall be filled by the President of the United States: Provided, however, That no such commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the United States unless there shall be presented to him a statement, verified on oath by the president of said company, that such forty miles have been completed in the manner required by this act, and setting forth with certainty the points where such forty miles begin and where the same end; which oath shall be taken before a judge of a court of record. [[This was amended to reduce the 40 miles to 20.]]

<!-- 6% government backed bonds payable in 30 years as a first mortgage on the railroad -->
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted. That for the purposes herein mentioned, the Secretary of the Treasury shall, upon the certificate in writing of said commissioners of the completion and equipment of forty consecutive miles of said railroad and telegraph, in accordance with the provisions of this act, issue to said company bonds of the United States of one thousand dollars each, payable in thirty years after date, bearing six per centum per annum interest (said interest payable semi-annually), which interest may be paid in United States treasury notes or any other money or currency which the United States have or shall declare lawful money and a legal-tender, to the amount of sixteen of said bonds per mile for such section of forty miles; and to secure the repayment to the United States, as hereinafter provided, of the amount of said bonds so issued and delivered to said company, together with all interest thereon which shall have been paid by the United States , the issue of said bonds and delivery to the company shall ipso facto constitute a first mortgage on the whole line of the railroad and telegraph, together with the rolling-stock, fixtures, and property of every kind and description, and in consideration of which said bonds may be issued; and on refusal or failure of said company to redeem said bonds or any part of them, when required to do so by the Secretary of the Treasury, in accordance with the provisions of this act, the said road, with all the rights, functions, immunities, and appurtenances thereunto belonging, and also all lands granted to the said company by the United States, which, at the time of said default, shall remain in the ownership of the said company, may be taken possession of by the Secretary of the Treasury for the use and benefit of the United States: Provided, This section shall not apply to that part of any road now constructed. [[Triple the value as noted in Section 11. They were made subordinate to other oblications to further encourage capital investment, Section 10 of 1864.]]

<!-- Bond must be paid at maturity with the railroads and telegraphs properly maintained and fixing the 5% of net earnings -->
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted. That the grants aforesaid are made upon condition that said company shall pay said bonds at maturity, and shall keep said railroad and telegraph line in repair and use, and shall at all times transmit dispatches over said telegraph line, and transport mails, troops, and munitions of war, supplies, and public stores upon said railroad for the government whenever required to do so by any department thereof, and that the government shall at all times have the preference in the use of the same for all the purposes aforesaid, (at fair and reasonable rates of compensation, not to exceed the amounts paid by private parties for the same kind of service); and all compensation for services rendered for the government shall be applied to the payment of said bonds and interest until the whole amount is fully paid. Said company may also pay the United States, wholly or in part, in the same or other bonds, treasury notes, or other evidences of debt against the United States, to be allowed at par; and after said road is completed, until said bonds and interest are paid, at least five per centum of the net earnings of said road shall also be annually applied to the payment thereof.

<!-- Completion by 1874 -->
SEC. 7 . And be it further enacted. That said company shall file their assent to this act, under the seal of said company, in the Department of the Interior, within one year after the passage of this act, and shall complete said railroad and telegraph from the point of beginning as herein provided, to the western boundary of Nevada Territory, before the first day of July, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four: Provided, That within two years after the passage of this act said company shall designate the general route of said road, as near as may be, and shall file a map of the same in the Department of the Interior, whereupon the Secretary of the Interior shall cause the lands within fifteen miles of said designated route or routes to be withdrawn from pre-emption, private entry, and sale; and when any portion of said route shall be finally located, the Secretary of the Interior shall cause the said lands hereinbefore granted, to be surveyed and set off as fast as may be necessary for the purposes herein named: Provided, That in fixing the point of connection of the main trunk with the eastern connections it shall be fixed at the most practicable point for the construction of the Iowa and Missouri branches, as hereinafter provided.

<!-- Starting point to be surveyed -->
SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the line of said railroad and telegraph shall commence at a point on the one hundredth meridian of longitude west from Greenwich, between the south margin of the valley of the Republican river and the north margin of the valley of the Platte river, in the Territory of Nebraska, at a point to be fixed by the President of the United States, after actual surveys; thence running westerly upon the most direct, central, and practicable route, through the territories of the United States, to the western boundary of the Territory of Nevada, there to meet and connect with the line of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California.

<!-- Tripling the bond subsidy for mountain roads -->
SEC. 11 . And be it further enacted, That for three hundred miles of said road, most mountainous and difficult of construction, to wit, one hundred and fifty miles westwardly from the eastern base of the Rocky mountains, and one hundred and fifty miles eastwardly from the the western base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, said points to be fixed by the President of the United States, the bonds to be issued to aid in the construction thereof shall be treble the number per mile hereinbefore provided, and the same shall be issued, and the lands herein granted be set apart, upon the construction of every twenty miles thereof, upon the certificate of the commissioners as aforesaid that twenty consecutive miles of the same are completed ; {Subsidy bond double between the mountains.} and between the sections last named of one hundred and fifty miles each, the bonds to be issued to aid in the construction thereof’ shall be double the number per mile first mentioned, and the same shall be issued, and the lands herein granted beset apart, upon the construction of every twenty miles thereof, upon the certificate of the commissioners as aforesaid that twenty consecutive miles of the same are completed: Provided, That no more than fifty thousand of said bonds shall be issued under this act to aid in constructing the main line of said railroad and telegraph.

<!-- Uniform width and transport building materials at cost -->
SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That whenever the route of said railroad shall cross the boundary of any state or territory or said meridian of longitude, the two companies meeting or uniting there shall agree upon its location at that point, with reference to the most direct and practicable through route, and in case of difference between them as to said location the President of the United States shall determine the said location; the companies named in each state and territory to locate the road across the same between the points so agreed upon, except as herein provided. The track, upon the entire line of railroad and branches shall be of uniform width, to be determined by the President of the United States, so that, when completed, cars can be run from the Missouri river to the Pacific coast; the grades and curves shall not exceed the maximum grades and curves of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the whole line of said railroad and branches and telegraph shall be operated and used for all purposes of communication, travel, and transportation, so far as the public and government are concerned, as one connected continuous line; and the companies herein named in Missouri, Kansas, and California, filing their assent to the provisions of this act, shall receive and transport all iron rails, chairs, spikes, ties, timber, and all materials required for constructing and furnishing said first-mentioned line between the aforesaid point on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude and western boundary of Nevada Territory, whenever the same is required by said first-named company, at cost, over that portion of the roads of said companies constructed under the provisions of this act.

<!-- Complete 100 miles within 2 years starting at the Iowa border. Failure to perform would result in forfeiture of all privileges granted by this act -->
SEC. 14. And be it further enacted,  That the said Union Pacific Railroad Company is hereby authorized and required to construct a single line of railroad and telegraph from a point on Me western boundary of the State of Iowa, to be fixed by the President of the United States, upon the most direct and practicable route, to be subject to his approval, so as to form a connection with the line of said company at some point on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude aforesaid, from the point of commencement on the western boundary of the State of Iowa, upon the same terms and conditions, in all respects, as are contained in this act for the construction of the said railroad and telegraph first mentioned; and the said Union Pacific Railroad Company shall complete one hundred miles of the road and telegraph in this section provided for in two years after filing their assent to the conditions of this act, as by the terms of this act required, and at the rate of one hundred miles per year thereafter until the whole is completed: Provided, That a failure upon the part of said company to make said connection in the time aforesaid, and to perform the obligations imposed on said company by this section, and to operate said road in the same manner as the main line shall be operated, shall forfeit to the government of the United States all the rights, privileges, and franchises granted to and conferred upon said company by this act. And whenever there shall be a line of railroad completed through Minnesota or Iowa to Sioux City, then the said Pacific Rail road Company is hereby authorized and required to con struct a railroad and telegraph from said Sioux City upon the most direct and practicable route to a point on, and so as to connect with, the branch railroad and telegraph in this section hereinbefore mentioned, or with the said Union Pacific railroad, said point of junction to be fixed by the President of the United States, not further west than the one-hundredth meridian of longitude aforesaid, and on the same terms and conditions as provided in this act for the construction of the Union Pacific railroad as aforesaid, and to complete the same at the rate of one hundred miles per year; and should said company fail to comply with the requirements of this act in relation to the said Sioux City railroad and telegraph, the said company shall suffer the same forfeitures prescribed in relation to the Iowa branch railroad and telegraph hereinbefore mentioned.

SEC. 15. And be it further enacted, That any other railroad company now incorporated, or hereafter to be incorporated, shall have the right to connect their road with the road and branches provided for by this act, at such places and upon such just and equitable terms as the President of the United States may prescribe.  Wherever the word company is used in this act, it shall be construed to embrace the words their associates, successors, and assigns, the same as if the words had been properly added thereto.

<!-- Companies authorized to consolidate -->
SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That at any time after the passage of this act all of the railroad companies named herein, and assenting hereto, or any two or more of them, are authorized to form themselves into one consolidated company; notice of such consolidation, in writing, shall be filed in the Department of the Interior, and such consolidated company shall thereafter proceed to construct said railroad and branches and telegraph line upon the terms and conditions provided in this act.

<!-- Congress can compel speedy completion and coerce maintenance. Line to be completed by 1876 -->
SEC. 17 . And be it further enacted, That in case said company or companies shall fail to comply with the terms and conditions of this act, by not completing said road and telegraph and branches within a reasonable time, or by not keeping the same in repair and use, but shall permit the same for an unreasonable time to remain unfinished or out of repair and unfit for use, Congress may pass any act to insure the speedy completion of said road and branches, or to put the same in repair and use, and may direct the income of said railroad and telegraph line to be thereafter devoted to the use of the United States to repay all such expenditures caused by the default or neglect of such company or companies: Provided, That if said roads are not completed, so as to form a continuous line of railroad, ready for use, from the Missouri river to the navigable waters of the Sacramento river in California, by the first day of July, eighteen hundred and seventy-six, the whole of all of said railroads before mentioned, and to be constructed under the provisions of this act, together with all their furniture, fixtures, rolling-stock, machine shops, lands, tenements, hereditaments, and property of every kind and character, shall be forfeited to and taken possession of by the United States: Provided, That of the bonds of the United States in this act provided to be delivered for any and all parts of the roads to be constructed east of the one-hundredth meridian of west longitude from Greenwich, and for any part of the road west of the west foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, there shall be reserved of each part and installment twenty-five per centum, to be and remain in the United States treasury, undelivered, until said road and all parts thereof provided for in this act are entirely completed; and of all the bonds provided to be delivered for the said road, between the two points aforesaid, there shall be reserved out of each installment fifteen per centum, to be and remain in the treasury until the whole of the road provided for in this act is fully completed ; and if the said road or any part thereof shall fail of completion at the time limited therefor in this act, then and in that case the said part of said bonds so reserved shall be forfeited to the United States.

<!-- In exchange for Federal lands, and bonds the government may constrain excessive rates -->
SEC. 18. And be it further enacted., That whenever it appears that the net earnings or the entire road and telegraph, including the amount allowed for services rendered for the United States, after deducting all expenditures—including repairs and the furnishing, running, and managing of said road—shall exceed ten per centum upon its cost, (exclusive of the five per centum to be paid to the United States,) Congress may reduce the rates of fare thereon, if unreasonable in amount, and may fix and establish the same by law. And the better to accomplish the object of this act, namely, to promote the public interest and welfare by the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, and keeping the same in working order, and to secure to the government at all times (but particularly in time, of war) the use and benefits of the same for postal, military, and other purposes, Congress may at any time—having due regard for the rights of said companies named herein—add to, alter, amend, or repeal this act.

<!-- Transportation networks and communications networks are highly interrelated in their nature -->
SEC. 19. And be it further enacted, That the several railroad companies herein named are authorized to enter into an arrangement with the Pacific Telegraph Company, the Overland Telegraph Company, and the California State Telegraph Company, so that the present line of telegraph between the Missouri river and San Francisco may be moved upon or along the line of said railroad and branches as fast as said roads and branches are built; and if said arrangement be entered into, and the transfer of said telegraph line be made in accordance therewith to the line of said railroad and branches, such transfer shall, for all purposes of this act, be held and considered a fulfillment, on the part of said railroad companies, of the provisions of this act in regard to the construction of said line of telegraph. And in case of disagreement, said telegraph companies are authorized to remove their line of telegraph along and upon the line of railroad herein contemplated without prejudice to the rights of said railroad companies named herein.

SEC. 20. And be it further enacted, That the corporation hereby created and the roads connected therewith, under the provisions of this act, shall make to the Secretary of the Treasury an annual report, wherein shall be set forth :

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