Washington Association of Rail Passengers
December 6, 1997 University Plaza Hotel. Seattle, Washington
Excutive Board Members:
Lloyd Flem, Executive Director, Chuck Mott, President, Hans Mueller, Treasurer, Ellen Barton, Secretary, Jim Hamre, Newsletter Editor
Board of Directors:
George Benson, Loren Herrigstad, Paul Scott, Steve Spear, Bill Weeks, Hal Cooper, Noel Hancock, Dale Menchhofer, Jerome Sheldon, Stephanie Weber, Warren Yee.
Members and Guests:
Stuart Adams, Erik Griswold, Phil Korst, Robert Roher, Leroy Chadwick, Ken Potter, Mike Skehan, Mark Lawrence, Ray Allred, Jim Holley, Jim McIntosh, Tony Trifiletti, Dick Hinea, Wilson Geegh, Bob Laurence, Martha Menchhofer, et al.
President Chuck Mott called the meeting to order at 12:20 PM. The agenda was approved with the addition of the following items:
Minutes for the November meeting were approved with corrections to the attendee list, as noted on file.
Treasurer Hans Mueller reported an increase in funds over the prior month, noting that the annual appeal letter had already generated over $2000, with additional donations expected over me next months. No new or renewing memberships were reported in response to me November challenge contest.
In recognition of Amtrak's renewed funding conditioned upon operations during the coming two year period. President Mott reaffirmed WashARP's commitment to support a more efficient, effective entrepreneurial Amtrak, noting, "...we will hold their feet to the fire."
A resolution affirming WashARP support for Washington State Department of Transportation "thru-way bus service" providing connections for Northern community residents (e.g.. Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, etc.) to Seattle area train departures was presented for Board approval by Warren Yee (copy of resolution details, on file.)
Noel Hancock made the motion to approve, seconded by Paul Scott. Discussion centered on implementation timeline and financial feasibility. The Motion was amended with the following: "WashARP supports the implementation of this service as soon as possible, encouraging WSDOT to analyze the feasibility of implementing the service immediately. In the event that financial constraints prohibit immediate implementation, we urge that budget allocations be made for the 2001 biennium with service to begin no later than December, 1998.
The motion was approved unanimously, as amended.
Executive Director Lloyd Flem reported on the November 10 & 11 Freight and Passenger Rail conference which he addressed the topic of a need to work together among the variety of rail interests, and to recognize air and trucking subsidies as the real problem. The tenor of the conference indicated a greater predilection to working together than previously evident. Lloyd also noted concern in D.C. about mega-mergers as the U.P. debacle begins to register.
Coincidentally, the Amtrak reauthorization bill was on the floor during the same week and, while he denies single-handedly saving Amtrak, Lloyd recounted a saga of deal-making and tight negotiations which have likely heightened WashARP's credibility in D.C., not just Olympia.
Emphasizing the need for members to voice thanks to congressional representatives for the work they have done to support this reauthorization. Lloyd closed with the note that we still need to push for ISTEA flexibility allowing states the right to choose rail funding.
The Northwest Corridor concept draws parallels with the historic development of me Northeast Corridor as a tool for industry and economic development. In an insightful and witty presentation, Tony Trifiletti described political and economic realities, both local and international partnerships. Emphasizing that government alone no longer has the funds nor power to build this vital trade route, he implied WashARP's potential role beyond Olympia in such a new paradigm.
Representing the former Commuter Rail Passenger Coalition, which voted unanimously at its last meeting to disband and join forces with WashARP. Mike Skehan spoke of the formation of Regional Transit Authority (RTA) station committees. Recommending that at least one WashARP member be on each station committee, he urged the Board members to review their proximity to proposed stations and attend.
Amtrak's Customer advisory Committee member Noel Hancock spoke of the need for Board members to be actively involved in enhancing WashARP's effectiveness. He outlined the following 4 step action plan he intends to begin and on which he would welcome assistance:
As a note of interest, the Edmonds Amtrak Station will be dedicating several months to railroad displays, information and history. The station has also expressed interest in hosting WashARP meetings.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) freight rail staffer, Ray Allred spoke of innovative and successful local march funding for maintenance of the Coulee City line. Six local grain producers agreed to a fund the local match requirement through a rebate process over the next several years, thus creating an incentive for rail shipping. Smaller freight rail lines hope for ISTEA flexibility to fund some rehabilitation projects. Senator Carton has reportedly signed on the sponsor such an amendment.
Meeting Coordinator Dale Menchhofer noted a change of meeting venue for the January meeting allowing the Board to take advantage of a site tour of the King Street Station offered by the renovation contractor, OTAK.
January 10, 1998, Tony Roma's. by King Street Station. Seattle
February 14, 1998, University Plaza Hotel. Seattle
March 14, 1998, Portland area scheduled, however a potential tour of the Talgo assembly plant is being negotiated, in which case regional meeting may take place in Washington State.
Election of the Board of Directors for the 1998 - 2000 biennium; candidates as listed in the November meeting minutes. A resolution was proposed to increase the size of me Board of Directors temporarily, for a period not to exceed two years, in order to accommodate an increased representation of 10 from the Puget Sound Division, and 6 to be appointed in the At-large Division. The motion to approve was made by Hal Cooper and seconded by Dale Menchhofer. Discussion included one comment to the effect that the Board members would continue to be required to meet on a monthly basis. The motion was approved unanimously, thereby electing the Board members as listed.
In honor of the approaching holiday season, Secretary Ellen Barton offered a few words of appreciation for the untiring efforts of our leaders and members, culminating in a well-deserved standing ovation for President Chuck Mott.
The meeting adjourned at 3:40 PM.
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