The meeting was called to order at 1:15 p.m. by Chuck Mott, President. The agenda was formulated on the spot.
The approval of meeting minutes for July 12. 1997 will occur at the September meeting.
There was no treasurer's report due to the treasurer's absence.Upcoming Meetings:
Executive Director Lloyd Flem was invited to write for "Railway Age" magazine countering the common misconception that U. S. citizens are unlikely to use an expanded and efficient rail transportation system. His article, which summarized similarities between cities of similar size and income level in Germany and in the U. S. , was extremely well received.
The Executive Director and the President were invited to address the Amtrak Board of Directors at their meeting in California. Given round-trip first-class Amtrak tickets each way, the two officers reported impeccable service. Remarks to the Board focussed on the need for innovative funding strategies and entrepreneurial, market-based planning and were well received. WashARP was commended for its work.
Amtrak President, Tom Downs, appeared worn down by the budget process. The budget question, always contentious, this year is one of Amtrak's basic survival. Gil Mallory, Amtrak's Western Region Director, won praise for his proactive attitude. Calls to Washington and Oregon legislators -- as part of the fastest growing corridor in the nation -- should emphasize the vital benefits of Amtrak to constituents.
Conducting informal market research. Lloyd found that the Metro (Transit) information kiosk three blocks from King Street Station had no information about Amtrak trains. The attendant was unaware that intercity rail served King Street Station. Intermodal transportation must include training for accurate information dissemination.
Cascadia Conference will take place September 4 and 5 at the Double Tree Inn in Kelso.
Washarp President Chuck Mott in Washington, D.C. for the NFIB annual Board meeting, spoke with staff from the offices of Trent Lott, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and others to educate about the need for support for stable passenger rail funding. He spoke to Rep. Jack Metcalf, a key member of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, praising his support of the rail issue in recent voting.
Jeff Schultz of the Washington Department of Transportation (DOT) Rail Office reported on Talgo equipment testing for higher speeds on curves. Tests are going well with no surprises. Speed restrictions imposed by cities are in the process of being challenged with hearings scheduled on September 8, 9 and 10. Higher speeds will reduce running time between Seattle and Portland to 3 hrs, 15 min and may start as soon as October 1997. The new train equipment "shells" have arrived in Long Beach and will be trucked to the Marginal Way assembly building in Seattle.
Ed Lombardi of Amtrak equipment division discussed recent developments including the expected addition of "Express Cars" or cargo cars, which will accept goods for shipping, attached to regular Amtrak passenger routes. Amtrak expects additional profits. with the specific goal of taking freight off the highways -- but not from the rail freight shippers -- while easing price increases for ticketed passengers.
The meeting closed at approximately 3:00 pm.
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