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April 2000 General Meeting Minutes

April 2000 General Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Meeting

Washington Association of Rail Passengers

General Meeting

Apr 8th, 2000 in Seattle, WA

12:00 Call to Order, Tony Trifiletti, President

Minutes of 3-11-00 were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Hans Mueller reported income for Mar. of $1,868.88, expenses of $1,720.97, with a closing balance of $4,562.36. Tony reported membership as 486, with the goal of getting back to over 500.

Bob Lawrence (Chair, Membership Committee) reported on final arrangements being made for the Eastern Washington annual meeting to be held in Spokane on May 13th, 2000 at the Doubletree Hotel. Some discussion ensued on the content of flyers to announce the meeting, as well as to whom and when these should be mailed to. VP-East, James Neal communicated with Tony that the emphasis of the meeting should be on improved East-West service, with the survey being the starting point for identifying needs, capital and operating costs, and sources of funding for new service. The distribution list would be different than if we only focus on "Apples on Amtrak", although the two are related.

Tony Trifiletti (President) welcomed a new member to our organization, Ron Sheck. He comes with a long list of accomplishments managing public and private rail and transportation programs in Arizona and Florida. He and his wife have recently relocated to the Seattle area, and are most welcome. Ron has also agreed to take on the responsibilities of Chair of the Government Affairs and Public Relations Committee.

Craig Thorpe discussed the progress of Issaquah’s efforts to restore a Brill trolley car and operate a ¾ mile shuttle in the downtown core using abandoned BN tracks and the historic station. Rather than electrify the line, they may choose to haul a B unit serving as a generator car. This seems like a wonderful community effort to revive rail transport. Kudos to Craig and the gang.

Lloyd Flem (Executive Director) reported on "wheel spinning" in Olympia as the order of the day. Still no budget, no compromise, and no firm cuts to rail. The Senate is very much in favor of keeping the 2nd Bellingham train funded, with the house using the train as a bargaining chip for future deals. BC is very close to chipping in $20 million for the 2nd train improvements, but still no firm decision. Apples are becoming a reality in both house and senate versions, thanks to Representive Parlette and Senator Gary Chandler. This is one of the last issues championed by the most respected Senator, George Seller. He is in very poor condition in the hospital, and we all wish him well. One issue still working on apples is the amount of private funding as a cap. (5 or 10 mill.) DOT needs the higher number to order cars in sufficient quantity. The E-W study is a maybe for this budget. Lloyd is working hard to keep it alive. Ken indicates it may go ahead "in-house" at a reduced level if that’s the only way to make it happen.

Chuck Mott (Chairman of the Board) reported on the Blue Ribbon Commissions work to date. They will be finalizing their strategies report very shortly. The WSDOT rail office will be making the last formal staff presentation to the commission at their next meeting. Chuck pointed out the importance of this timing, as the very last thing the commission hears will be how successful the rail program has been in terms of ridership, profitability, and cost-effectiveness. The last word is the one that sticks in your mind. The public will be given a chance to comment on the Commissions findings this summer, with final recommendations to the Governor due at the end of this year. I-695 has made their work nearly impossible, but may be the silver lining in the clouds in favor of rail transport due to extremely limited funds in future years.

Chuck also reported on the Cascadia Foundations meeting in Mt. Vernon to get the message to legislators that the 2nd train is vital to Cascades services in the corridor. This meeting was attended by a dozen elected official who got the message, WSDOT, the press, and WashARP. Sen. Gardner voiced the strongest support, saying they will kill the train over her dead body.

Mike Skehan (Secretary) reported that it has been over a year since the last Tom Martin Award was presented, and that the Spokane meeting might be an opportune time to make our presentation to an Eastern Washington Legislator. After some discussion, Rep. Linda Evans Parlette was chosen to receive the annual award for the promotion of rail transit in the State of Washington. (Ed. To be shared with Sen. Gary Chandler, who is equally responsible for Apples and Cascades service.) Mike Skehan explained our election procedure to the group, passed out ballots (cc attached) and conducted the election. The results are as follows:

By affirmation of the slate,

Chuck Mott, Chairman of the Board

Tony Trifiletti, President

James Neal, VP Eastern WA

Jim Hamre, VP Western WA

Noel Hancock, Secretary

Hans Mueller, Treasurer

By election results of the top five vote getters,

Stuart Adams, At Large

Hal Cooper, At Large

Paul Scott, At Large

Rocky Shay, At Large

Craig Thorpe, At Large

By appointment by the President,

Erik Griswold, Chair of Transit and Commuter Rail Committee

Bob Lawrence, Chair of Marketing and Membership Committee

Ron Sheck, Chair of Government Affairs and Public Relations Committee

{ o p e n } , Chair of Finance and Strategic Planning Committee

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 PM

Respectfully Submitted,

Michael Skehan, Secretary

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