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Public Utilities Reports

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Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1996

Perspective

Stephen Maloney

A century ago, Congress conveyed valuable public property to certain entrepreneurs to serve the public interest. In exchange, these entrepreneurs agreed to carry the nation's principal means of communication at fair cost and, of course, serve the national defense.

In 1850, with a commitment to move the mail at fixed rates and freely transport federal troops hither and yon, a swath of public land was granted to the Illinois Central to connect Chicago with Mobile.

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