Jim Hamre chaired this meeting in Chuck Mott's absence. Chuck could not attend due to health problems.
This meeting was held at the Olympia/Lacey Centennial Station and was well attended. We had several local members attend, including volunteers that staff the station every day.
Executive Director Lloyd Flem introduced Ed Barnes, a Washington State Transportation Commissioner. The Washington State Transportation Commission is responsible for long-range transportation planning in our state. Mr. Barnes was appointed by Governor Lowery to represent Southwest Washington until the year 2001. He is one of seven members, which oversees WSDOT and assures the transportation funds are spent properly.
According to Mr. Barnes, a lot of people around the country are looking at our rail program, such as Nevada looking at our Talgo equipment. Mr. Barnes hears people complain they can't get bookings on the corridor trains. Air service for people in Southwest Washington via Portland is inconvenient. He hopes the state legislature will add more service on the corridor. The new ISTEA legislation has funds available for some of these programs. It requires a planning and study process to get the funds. Mr. Barnes commented that Referendum 49 will have a five-year impact on transportation projects, but will take 25 years to pay back. He said anyone is invited to come to the open meetings of the commission to speak. He also recommended contacting state legislators for changes. The WSDOT budget for rail programs is an improvement over the governor's proposal.
Jim Slakey from the WSDOT rail program spoke to the group. Jim said Ed is one of the commission's stronger rail supporters. Costumer and employee satisfaction has been high on the Talgo service. Jim said it is very important to get a good state budget. The governor's budget maintains infrastructure. The WSDOT budget includes three train sets, and would complete reconstruction at King Street Station. Jim commented they are still having trouble getting funds from our north and south partners, British Columbia and Oregon. He commented Oregon's legislative process is different from ours and slows the funding process.
Executive Director Lloyd Flem reported in July or August we expect through train service from Portland to Vancouver, B.C. Lloyd also reported he would meet with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden regarding the Pioneer route. He also reported there is pressure to get expanded service in Eastern Washington. WSDOT may study this, possibly looking at service via Stampede Pass. Lloyd also reported he spoke with Tommy Thompson and Mike Dukakis at an Amtrak board meeting in Los Angeles. Lloyd will also be meeting with legislators and staff in Montana.
Jeff Schultz of WSDOT rail program commented that Referendum 49 provides funds for rail, including work on Kalama-Longview third track and Vancouver bypass. He said Centralia platforms would be rebuilt. Also, Vancouver USA will have new platforms and parking while the city improves the building. Mount Vernon is working on a federal grant for a new station there. In Pasco, the city and Amtrak were at an impasse over charges at the new intermodal station. WSDOT helped get a compromise to fund a public address system, seats and highway signage. Should be completed in a month. Jeff was asked if Amtrak would stop in Leavenworth. Rich DeGarmo says Amtrak will stop if a station is built. Jeff said he would check into it. Olympia/Lacey needs more parking spaces. They also need to raise the platform and add ticket machines there. Puyallup, Auburn, Kent and Seattle speed restrictions may change when RTA service begins. This could improve Amtrak Seattle-Portland times to 3 hours, five minutes. Expect reductions on Seattle-Vancouver, B.C. when tilt mechanism is utilized.
A proposal had been sent to all board members regarding changes in the leadership of WashARP. Chuck Mott has asked to step down as president but remain as chair. Tony Trifiletti was asked to replace Chuck as president. A motion was made and seconded to approve this change. The motion was unanimously approved.
Tony introduced himself. Originally from Philadelphia, New Jersey, the Army sent him to Fort Lewis. He also spent some time in California. He has been in data processing for 25 years. He is currently with Blue Cross. Tony thanked Chuck and Lloyd for the past several years of leadership. Tony helped organize our recent rail conference. He asked for volunteers that will delegate work. They will need to work on mission and goals, and then decide how to meet them.The meeting was adjourned at 2:12pm.
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Last Update: 01/03/00
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