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January 2000 General Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Meeting

Washington Association of Rail Passengers

General Meeting

Jan 8th, 2000 in Seattle, WA


12:15 Call to Order, Tony Trifiletti, President

Minutes of 12-4-99 were approved with the correction by Chuck Mott on Montana vs. Wyoming, and by Hal Cooper.

Treasurer’s Report: Hans reported income for Nov. of $4,133.33, expenses of $3,042.86, with a closing balance of $5,559.79. 12 members were added, none deleted, for a total membership of 518.

Resolution 2000-1, extending the term of office of all Board members and officers until regular elections can be held, following the February meeting in Portland, was adopted by unanimous vote.

Robert Lawrence updated the group on the Membership Committee: including the station volunteer program, Tony’s update of the membership database to provide greater data access and flexibility, and the introduction of an E-version of the newsletter by Warren Yee. Jim Hamre will still provide the paper copy of the newsletter.

Chuck Mott reported on the Blue Ribbon Comm., saying that as this is an election year, politicians and the Governor will be awaiting the final report for any decisive action on transportation funding. This is a two-edge sword, as the BRC will either be heroes or the fall guys.

Lloyd Flem reiterated the election year strategy being played out in Olympia. He doesn’t see any dramatic rescues in play for I-695 losses, other than a democratic led effort to save essential services in rail, transit and ferry programs. On the national level, 26 Governors have signed a petition to President Clinton to fully fund the Amtrak authorization. Acella train service is still having problems getting going, with technical and administrative glitches at every step of implementation, expected by late spring or early summer. The Montana M&E program is nearly a done deal. Others opportunities abound in shipping apples from Eastern Washington to the east coast.

The BC Investment Board was near an agreement to fund Cascades at their last meeting, but alas, the wheels came off the train again due to not having a quorum. Were hopeful they will eventfully step up to the bar and buy a round. J. Craig Thorpe will be displaying his unique form of rail advertising at an upcoming show in Olympia.

Ray Allred reported on the tremendous opportunity to hook "road railer" cars to the Empire trains, generating up to $10,000 per car. This could provide up to 50% of the cost of this train, and might be the genesis of an extra daily train through Eastern Washington in the future. WASHDOT Rail Office is working through the mechanics of such an arrangement now.

Hal Cooper reported on final arrangements being made for Portland meetings (3) to be held in February. This includes the joint AORTA/WASHARP annual meeting, Narp Region 8, and Amtrak customer advisory committee and public comment for the reform council. (Detail to follow in a separate mailing by Lloyd to all members) Both California groups will be in attendance and have been leading the arrangements for the joint meeting. Tony selected the "official delegation" consists of 8 members.

Stuart Adams reported on key agenda items that should be addressed in Portland including:

Deterioration of service on the Coast Starlight

Long distance train service and new service

Reform Council

CAC for Narp, and state organization

Full funding agreements for Amtrak with state partnerships

Also reported was the shelving of California’s High Speed Rail Program, going instead for a $25 Mil permanent authority to continue the study of this type of service.

Dale Menchofer reported on Mr. Eyman’s latest attempt to gut transit by introducing initiative 711, requiring 90% of transit funding be directed to road construction projects. This effectively kills Sound Transit and Light Rail in the Puget Sound, if the initiative makes it to the ballot and passes. (ED. Stranger things have happened!)

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 PM

Respectfully Submitted,

Michael Skehan, Secretary

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Last Update: 06/06/00
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