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February 1997 Minutes

February 1997 Minutes

Washington Association of Rail Passengers Board of Directors' Meeting February 8, 1997 Rose's Highway Inn, Des Moines, Washington


Executive Committee Members:
Chuck Mott, President
Ellen Barton, Secretary
Hans Mueller, Treasurer
Lloyd Flem, Executive Director
Jim Hamre, Newsletter Editor

Board of Directors:
George Benson, Roger Mumm, Dale Menchhofer, Jim Langston, Marion Sherman, Bill Weeks,
Paul Scott, John Deeter, Steven Spear, Stephanie Weber, Warren Yee, Eleanor Stewart,
Rocky Shay

Members and Guests:
Stuart Adams, Ray Allred, Robert Rohrer, Shirley Waldo, Roger Bennett, M. L. Gibson,
Zoe Gibson, Frank Waldo, Rob Morrison

Meeting Minutes:

The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m. by Chuck Mott, President. The agenda was approved. Agenda items were addressed in reverse order.

The motion to approve the meeting minutes for January 11, 1997, was approved unanimously.


Paul Scott urged members to attend one or all public meetings on proposed higher speed limits in eastern Washington towns and rural areas. Meetings in late February were held at Cheney, Ritzville, and Wenatchee.

Ray Allred of WSDOT Freight Division reported on the status of the grain train and on-going improvements in infrastructure.

Rob Morrison reported on the Senate proposal to cut shortline budget by 80%, a starvation budget which would remove even more trackage and infrastructure from the system. He urged contact with state senators on this issue.

Upcoming meetings for the next two months will be held at the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant as we continue to look for a "permanent" meeting location. The restaurant is located at 2801 Elliott Avenue, and will be available for the meeting from noon to 3:05 pm. Entrees must be selected and paid for as you enter. George Benson is arranging for a tour of the Street Car Barn after the meeting.

April 12, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Seattle
May 10, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Seattle
June 14, [King County area, location to be announced]
July 12, [Bellingham area, location to be announced]

Commuter Passenger Rail Coalition founder Rob Morrison described the coalition's work to support passage of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). As an Edmonds resident, he spoke of the more than 50,000 weekly commuters connecting with ferries and highways there and the wide local support which the commuter rail proposal garnered, The Coalition has been in existence for one year and has received support from leaders in local government, business and chambers of commerce. Sharing many of the same goals as WashARP, the coalition is considering a process of joining with our group. The combined membership would strengthen both organizations in our community education work and also in the eyes of the legislature. formal proposal will be made after review by the coalition.

Electronic Newsletter will be going onto an internet web page (design in progress). The new e-mail address is published in the latest paper newsletter.

Public Oversight Committee for the RTA is in the process of formation, Approximately 150 letters of application are being reviewed, Bob White clarified the role of the committee as ensuring that the RTA does what is says it is going to do.

Executive Director Lloyd Flem described this as the busiest time of the legislative year with the coming weeks seeing state and federal review of budgets for transportation. Members are urged to contact with all members of the rail committees with the message that we don't want to see existing rail routes disappear.

The state issue is the budget. Senator Prince has been unusually evenhanded, keeping intact the existing passenger rail amounts. This is a calculated move to show what the current budget will give the state in order to show the need for a gas tax increase. Committee will hear DOT's input in the coming week. Extensive information on the issues and the legislators was provided to members for use in contacting them.

At the federal level budget problems continue with the main issues currently a need for a dedicated capital funding source, flexibility for ISTEA funds, and more business-like operational rules for Amtrak (e.g., retirement payment source).

Quarterly Business Meeting called to order at 2:10 pm.

Keeping WashARP Ahead of the Curve will require investment in equipment and staff. President Chuck Mott described how our 1986 investment in a paid Executive Director brought increased legislative awareness of rail issues and consequently increased budgeting. High speed communication is now the norm and our organization's continued leadership role depends on effective use of electronic communications. Efficient use of the Executive Director's time requires investment in clerical assistance. The motion to authorize an increased stipend, direct long distance phone billing and hiring a clerical assistant to the Executive Director (as stated in agenda) was read, Jim Hamre moved, Steven Spear seconded it. Discussion followed concerning benefits, estimated hours, budget availability, possibility of using volunteers instead of paid assistant, and the high quality of Lloyd's work which is not adequately compensated. The Board voted to approve the motion: 13 in favor; none opposed; one abstention.

Purchase of Electronic Communications Equipment will require a special fund drive, The motion to authorize a special fund drive for this specific purchase (as stated in the agenda) was read, Rocky Shay moved, George Benson seconded it. Discussion centered on the timing of the equipment funds request just after the annual fund drive, during the legislative session, whether donors are likely, whether the purchase of new equipment is necessary, whether a loan to WashARP from individuals would allow faster motion. The Board voted to approve the motion: 13 in favor; none opposed; one abstention.

WashARP's Organizational Structure needs to be reviewed and improved upon for our continued growth/and action. Vice President East Jim Neal was authorized to develop recommendations for improvements to the structure of the Board of Directors and the organization, Discussion centered on the need for a smaller executive committee, more active committees, a need for a structure which encourages more people to be involved, and which will attract grant funds under 501(c)3 status, Roger Bennett expressed interest in assisting with long-range planning.

The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

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