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April 1998 General Meeting Minutes

April 1998 General Meeting Minutes


April 11, 1998

WashARP Business Meeting - University Hotel, Seattle

Scheduled Meetings:


Stuart Adams, Bruce Agnew, Hal Cooper, Lloyd Flem, Jim Hamre, Noel Hancock, Richard Hinea, Bob Lawrence, Joe McDade, Jim McIntoch, Dale Menchhofer, Chuck Mott, Hans Mueller, Roger Mumm, Ken Potter, John Schneider, Paul Scott, Rocky Shay, Mike Skehan, Steve Spear, Eleanor Stewart, Richard Tait, Tony Trifiletti, Bill Weeks, Warren Yee

Chuck began the meeting at 12:35pm and introduced Bruce Agnew of Bellingham. Bruce spoke to us about a rally for the second "north" train out of Seattle on July 14. Contact the Discover Institute for details. Bruce said customs pre-clearance needed to help expedite train travel. Possible additional customs officials is in the works. The current proposal is to discontinue enroute clearance and require everyone to disembark in Bellingham.

It was reported it is possible we can access more funds to improve rail passenger and freight service from ISTEA reauthorization. We will be looking at specific proposals soon.

Hans gave the treasurer's report, which covered the past two months. We had a February 1 balance of $3206, income was $6556 and expenses of $4463. The March balance was $4904. The current membership count is 464. Hans reported that 102 members qualified for new calendars from extra contributions.

Lloyd gave the executive director's report which included lots of "little" items. Chuck and Lloyd wrote to the Surface Transportation Board proposing an "opening" to use the rail system infrastructure. They proposed careful and moderate support. WashARP will have a booth April 19 for "Earth Day" in Longview. Lloyd reported the Senate version of

ISTEA allows state flexibility of funds but the legislation passed by the House does not. Congressman Metcalf and Senator Murray need to hear from us. Several issues will be voted on in our state this November. We will discuss this in the coming months. Lloyd recognized Noel Hancock's efforts to expand membership in Eastern Washington. Lloyd and his wife will be traveling in Europe in May, much of it by train, and will miss our next meeting.

May 17 is the startup date for new Seattle-Portland corridor service plus faster schedules. Growth continues on our Northwest Corridor at double-digit rates. Jim Hamre noted the Talgo trains on this route have fixed consists with limited seating, in contrast to the Superliner equipment. Until more Talgo equipment comes online, the Seattle-Vancouver, B.C. Mount Baker will operate with Superliner cars to allow Talgo service on Seattle-Portland trains.

Chuck commented on the NARP / WashARP / AORTA March membership meeting and the positive comments by WSDOT Secretary Sid Morrison and Amtrak's Ed Ellis. The meeting was well attended.

Chuck announced the estate of Tom Martin left WashARP $20,000. We will establish a small committee to ensure these funds are used as Tom would wish.

Dale asked about our vote in November. Lloyd said we need to review the issues and let the WashARP board decide what position to take. Even though it is primarily a highway issue, it does include funds affecting rail. MVET is the primary source for alternative transportation.

Mike Skehan gave the commuter rail report. CalTrain representatives and others will meet May 27. Mike said we need members to act as "leads" for each commuter stop. Bid process for commuter cars is still required, but we expect 6 locomotives and 30 bilevel cars here for December 1999 startup. Mike presented a resolution supporting an intermodal station at Tukwila (see attached). It was debated and approved unanimously.

Hal Cooper spoke about the October 15 conference on Rail Freight and Passenger Infrastructure. He said BNSF officials are scheduled to speak. The conference is aimed at business and public officials.

Noel Hancock reported on the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee. New stations are expected at Mount Vernon and Everett within the next two years, according to Amtrak. BNSF is doing better dispatching of Amtrak trains. There is concern over plastic plates, limited menus and two attendants in diners of most trains. The Coast Starlight has not been affected. Noel said he would visit Wenatchee, Spokane and Tri-Cities chambers of commerce, newspapers and city planners. Jim Neal is helping by advising Noel.

Chuck adjourned the meeting at 2:40pm.

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