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April 2002 General Membership Meeting Minutes

April 2002 General Membership Meeting Minutes

April 12, 2000
Meeting Place: The University Plaza Hotel

OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS PRESENT: Eleanor Stewart, Tony Trifiletti, Jim Hamre, Stuart Adams, Rocky Shay, Jim Cusick, Warren Yee, Bob Lawrence

OTHERS: Dale Menchhofer, Louis Musso, Bob Rohrer, Zack Willhoite, Dr. Tak Araki, Jim Holley, Steve Spear, Dennie Chelemedos, Jim Longley, Rebecca Caron

President Tony Trifiletti called the meeting to order at 1:22PM, following lunch.

Mr. Trifiletti thanked the group for condolences on the death of his mother. He then praised East Coast rail service and said he had a good Amtrak trip. He noted the changes at Amtrak and the Hollings bill. He said the Bush Administration is studying Amtrak, but there is confusion among Republicans, who are waiting for Mr. Bush. He called attention to the fundraising railroad hats donated by WashARP member Glenn Peterson.

Also to Dr. Tak Araki's latest position papers on the table.

Mr. Trifiletti read part of the MIT Club of Puget Sound April 22nd paper on transportation encouraging business while protecting the environment. He urged the members to attend.

Mr. Trifiletti then delayed the board meeting, noting a lack of a quorum. He reviewed the agenda. Mr. Hamre, Mr. Rohrer and Mr. Adams added items.

TRANSIT COMMITTEE REPORT: Jim Cusick reviewed a van tour of Sound Transit light rail facilities. Several WashARP'ers were there. There will be other tours in the future, but three weeks notice needed. Minimum ten people.

Mr. Cusick noted that People for Modern Transit oppose the Bus Rapid Transit option on 405. The Seattle Times is pro-405. We have a good opportunity to spearhead rail by arguing between highways and environmentalists. Jim Hamre is in touch with Sound Transit to see what we can do. Mr. Cusick also criticized newsmedia reporting of 405.

Mr. Hamre and Dr. Ron Sheck are trying to get another Sound Transit speaker.

Answering questions about Initiative 776, Mr. Cusick said we need to start driving these arguments. There was a brief discussion of Tim Eyman's plight…also of local opposition to the widening of Bellevue Way. The opinion was the Eastside Journal reflects Kemper Freeman, Junior's views. Also brief discussion of upcoming Eastside Journal article on Eyman. There were questions about People for Modern Transit meeting in transit-hostile Bellevue.

TREASURER'S REPORT: Treasurer Robert Lawrence said the Treasurers Report would be mailed.

At this point, President Trifiletti buys the first railroad hat (PRR). Several jokes follow.

MEMBERSHIP AND MARKETING COMMITTEE REPORT: Chairman Robert Lawrence reported three new members, five inactive. Also the death of member James Cowardin was noted. 56 members were late on dues.

There were 33 members on hand in Portland. Mr. Lawrence praised the meeting. He noted LTK and Talgo apparently combined.

Mr. Lawrence also said the University Plaza is now very expensive. So the next meeting will be at the Grand Chinese Buffet in Ballard. He then briefly reviewed upcoming meeting locations.

Mr. Lawrence then aid our NARP board members will be going to Washington, DC.

The Everett station meeting will be waiting for track. We may have it at the Howard Johnson.

Mr. Rohrer asked if members are giving more. President Trifiletti said that's shrinking.

ELLENSBURG MEETING: Louis Musso gave update on preparations for the Ellensburg meeting July 13th. The Save our Station group there is making arrangements. More to come. We will ask Congressman Dock Hastings to speak.

Mr. Musso then reviewed the passenger rail connection to Kittitas County. He said projections show fast population growth and much more development, and Trendwest Resort wants commuter trains by 2005. The passenger rail district vote should help. The sponsor of that is running for an open Senate seat, but should be replaced by another rail advocate. The Bring Back the Trains message is working in Eastern Washington…and the Ellensburg station renovation is underway.

Questions: Secretary Rocky Shay asked if Cendant Corp's buyout of Trendwest's parent company will threaten the rail project. Mr. Musso said Mountain Star is promoting that, and Mountain Star is being taken private by its part-owners.

Mr. Musso then clarified the proposed rail operation between Auburn and Cle Elum and the narrow-guage Roslyn option. He said the BNSF is positive. He said the commute across the Cascades would not be too long, but there's no sure estimate of the number of people using it. Dr. Tak Araki than briefly discussed the numbers and the operations.

Mr. Musso also mentioned that the trains may end up serving the Tri Cities, if their terminal must be there. He also clarified connections in Auburn. He said there may be stops in Kanaskat and Covington…and bus connections from Covington to Issaquah.

Mr. Musso concluded by saying there are rumors the next Microsoft campus will be in Kittitas County.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT: Jim Longley gave the report for Executive Director Lloyd Flem, who was in San Antonio.

He noted that Amtrak did not put up discontinuance notices on long distance trains. Congress is under pressure. WashARP is looking to build a coalition and educate.

Mr. Longley said the media are wrongly saying the transportation package is "roads only", but people want diversity. However, transit groups must drop their "no roads" position. Mr. Flem recommends that WashARP support the November referendum.

Mr. Longley said Transportation Choices and 1000 Friends of Washington are not mentioning passenger rail. Members of Congress are upset with the Washington House for forcing a vote on the transportation plan.

Mr. Longley said WashARP will help Amtrak save trains. He praised Montana for its support. He also said Washington Fruit Express is still important.

WashARP is working with the Coalition for Safe Highways to limit truck size. Congressman George Nethercutt is supporting a truck size limit bill.

Mr. Longley then reviewed the recent Discovery Institute meeting. WashARP urged tax credits and bonds in the rail bill.

Next came a review of a meeting with a staffer for Senator Patty Murray. We thanked her for support and questioning the unquestioned funding of the Northeast Corridor.

Mr. Longley said Executive Director Lloyd Flem is doing an Amtrak working vacation, working on opposition to recent anti-rail testimony before congress. Trains were full. He also shared information from Washington State, plus WashARP's Praise and Push philosophy and some J. Craig Thorpe prints with Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. He then urged Senator Hutchinson to work with Senator Murray.

Mr. Longley then said WashARP is staffing the upcoming Centralia Station dedication.

Mr. Longley then announced that passenger train advocate Dan Snow passed away recently after a long fight with cancer. His family wants people to plant cherry trees in his honor.

AMTRAK NATIONAL REVIEW: Speaking as a NARP Region 8 Director, Jim Hamre noted that Amtrak trains are in uneven shape. Equipment is in short supply. Summer sleepers are sold out already. NARP should seek a supplemental appropriation from Congress to fix the equipment if Amtrak won't. Some stations, including Centralia, are now un-staffed even during open hours. There are no daytime hours at Spokane now. The NARP Board will discuss this at its Spring meeting in DC, and will try to meet with Senator Murray and others.

Mr. Rohrer urged NARP to seek out House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Mr. Hamre remembered the broken promise to get HSRIA passed early last year.

Mr. Hamre also reviewed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Amtrak. He then complained that the airlines just got another big subsidy through a tax refund on losses and subsidies on liability insurance…while the airlines charge low fares.

MR. ADAMS: NARP Director Stuart Adams said he, too, worries about the condition of the trains. He praised the Portland meeting and speeches by Boise Mayor Brent Coles

and Retired BNSF Operations Chief Bill Greenwood. He warned that the NARP board keeps hearing unjustified comfort speeches. He said WashARP was well represented at the Portland NARP meeting. He said the West will strongly challenge at the national meeting.

Questions: Mr. Hamre said NARP President Alan Yorker wants more board discussion. He added that the invitation to outgoing Amtrak President George Warrington has been withdrawn.

There was a brief discussion of how the Amtrak president is appointed and how the board is structured. Right now, they can't find a new Amtrak president.

Mr. Hamre said he plans to ride the Downeaster and Acela Express soon, first class on Amtrak coupons. He also said Robert Lawrence is ready to substitute for Stephanie Webber at the national NARP meeting. He criticized the General Accounting Office's lack of knowledge of rail operations in the West at a recent Congressional hearing, and added that Amtrak's long-distance trains are, in fact, its cash cows.

There was a brief discussion of the URPA-Selden position on long-distance trains and of how the East still sees the West as Frontierland.

Answering a question about why there were no train-off notices, Mr. Hamre mentioned a NARP report that said cutting long-distance trains would kill revenues immediately. He said Amtrak handled the back-off well, but that some tours were already diverted from the trains.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Secretary Rocky Shay called the roll of the Board, finding seven members present, one short of a quorum. Therefore, the Board could not be convened and no Board business was conducted.


  1. A question about what Board business was there. Mr. Trifiletti said basically just approval of minutes.
  2. Mr. Cusick noted we CAN do presentations if we wish.
  3. Mr. Hamre said Amtrak Express Chief Lee Sargrad will speak at the NARP board meeting. Mr. Hamre will emphasize WFE.
  4. Mr. Hamre gave a quick roundup of speakers due at the NARP meeting, and said Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and Representative Jack Quinn of New York will get Golden Spike awards for proposing, if not accomplishing, good things for passenger rail. He also said Eastern Washington Representatives Hastings and Nethercutt need to be worked on.
  5. Mr. Yee reviewed the new Amtrak Sunday schedule on the Cascades Corridor. Mentioned new train 757 in place of 751, leaving Seattle at 8AM instead of 7:30.
  6. He also reviewed procedures for next month's Grand Chinese Buffet experiment.

  7. Robert Lawrence discussed his train/fly NARP board meeting travel plans.

He also mentioned the opening of LA's Alameda Freight Corridor and the mileage it saves.

President Tony Trifiletti adjourned the meeting at 3:01PM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rocky Shay, Secretary

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Last Update: 05/27/02
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