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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/314

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the excavation from which it was taken, and would have to be rehandled in forming the increased size of prism contemplated in the commission's plan.

In view of all the conditions affecting it, the commission made the following estimate of the value of the property of the new Panama Canal Company, as it is now found on the Panama route:

Canal excavation $21,020,386
Chagres diversion 178,186
Gatun diversion 1,396,456
Railroad diversion (four miles) 300,000
$22,895,028
Contingencies, 20 per cent 4,579,005
Aggregate $27,474,033
Panama Railroad stock at par 6,850,000
Maps, drawings and records 2,000,000
Aggregate $36,324,033

The commission added 10 per cent, to this total 'to cover omissions, making the total valuation of the property and rights as now existing $40,000,000.' In computing the value of the channel excavation in the above tabulation it was estimated that 'the total quantity of excavation which will be of value in the new plan is 39,586,332 cu. yds.'

In January, 1902, the new Panama Canal Company offered to sell and transfer to the United States Government all its property and rights on the isthmus of every description for the estimate of the commission, viz., $40,000,000. In order to make a proper comparison between the total costs of constructing the canal on the two routes it is necessary to add this $40,000,000 to the preceding aggregate of $144,233,358, making the total cost of the Panama canal $184,233,358. It will be remembered that the corresponding total cost of the Nicaragua canal would be $189,864,062.

It is obvious that the cost of operating and maintaining a ship canal across the American isthmus would be an annual charge of large amount. A large organized force would be requisite, and no small amount of material and work of various kinds and grades would be needed to maintain the works in suitable condition. The commission made very careful and thorough studies to ascertain as nearly as practicable what these comparative costs would be. In doing this it gave careful consideration to the annual expenditures made in maintaining the various ship canals of the world, including the Suez, Manchester, Kiehl and St. Mary's Falls Canals. The conclusion reached was that the estimated annual costs of maintenance and operation could reasonably be taken as follows:

For the Nicaragua canal $3,300,000
For the Panama canal 2,000,000
Difference in favor of Panama $1,300,000