WASHINGTON ASSOCIATION OF RAIL PASSENGERS
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
May 13, 2001
University Plaza Hotel, Seattle, WA
OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS PRESENT: Stuart Adams, John Carlin, Erik Griswold, James Hamre, Robert Lawrence, Charles Mott, Hans Mueller, James Neal, Paul Scott, Rocky Shay, Ron Sheck, Anthony Trifiletti, Warren Yee
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Lloyd Flem
OTHERS: Ray Allred, Jim Cusick, Darlene Flem, Tim Gould, Dale Menchhofer, Roger Mumm, Bill Neal, Robert Rohrer, Susan Sauer, Roche Scheuerman, Mike Skehan, Steve Spear, Zack Willhoite
The meeting was called to order by President Trifiletti at 1:29PM, with a welcome to the "Vice President Food Service, Brian" from the University Plaza restaurant staff.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT: Lloyd Flem reported on the Sid Morrison retirement dinner. Said he’ll be in touch with new State Transportation Secretary Doug McDonald.
Mr. Flem said he visited the NARP meeting, also met with Congressmen Brian Baird and Rick Larson, and with staff people from the offices of Senators Murray, Cantwell and Blumenauer, all good on high speed rail. He encouraged messages of appreciation to Senators Biden, Hutchinson, and Snowe, and encouragement to Senator Baucus of Montana, who doesn’t want gasoline tax funds going to Amtrak.
Mr. Flem said new NARP President Alan Yorker is adjusting to the job, and that he’s been asked by Mr Yorker to advise a new NARP Legislative Committee.
He congratulated WASHarp members on their letters to legislators and media, and will have more suggestions.
He said Governor Locke’s budget is good for rail, though much of it is based on HSIA. We must encourage legislators to make the mass transit funding decisions themselves, rather than passing them on to voters.
A short Talgo trip for legislators May 8th attracted 16 lawmakers, with positive results, thanks largely to Representative Maryanne Mitchell (R-Federal Way).
Mr. Hamre then thanked lawmakers for King Street Station money just approved. Vice President Neal noted the need to study both freight and passenger rail in Eastern Washington.
Mr. Flem has been invited by Former Congressman Al Swift to speak to the High Speed Ground Transportation Association, a suppliers group. He will discuss Washington’s experience and WASHarp’s praise and push approach to advocating rail projects.
He then thanked Wenatchee meeting committee members. WASHarp will be addressing passenger AND freight rail there. Vice President Neal said North Central Washington is important, and that House Co-Speaker Clyde Ballard is interested. President Trifiletti then invited questions for Mr. Flem and urged members to fill out their Wenatchee meeting forms.
Mr. Rohrer said we need a strong rail advocate for OUR area.
Mr. Flem then revealed that Former Transportation Secretary Sid Morrison may be a candidate for the Amtrak board. There was a discussion involving several members regarding Tommy Thompson leaving the board and Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta joining it.
Mr. Skeehan asked how much the image of intercity rail is being hurt by problems at Sound Transit. Mr. Flem said some, but it’s not too bad. He says to make sure anyone we write letters to understands they are separate.
After a ten-minute recess to pay for lunch…President Trifiletti reconvened the meeting at 2:13PM.
EASTERN WASHINGTON UPDATE: Member Ray Allred said the Eastern Washington Passenger Rail study will be out soon. Vice President Neal said he has seen it, and the Stampede Pass line needs much work, but Cle Elum and Ellensburg are very interested.
Mr. Allred said BNSF has separated Wenatchee from national negotiations on perishable traffic so that Wenatchee can start September 1st. The existing six-car limit on such traffic will be raised to 15. 15 minutes will be needed at Appleyard to add and remove apple cars. 50 Washington Fruit Express cars are on order, due in November and December. Governor Locke’s budget expands that to a possible 250. ExpressTrak will loan existing smaller cars so service can start in September. The Cascade and Columbia River Railroad will feed traffic to Amtrak from far-North Central Washington. The current rail market share for this traffic is only 4 per cent. Under consideration are trans-loading facilities at Appleyard for apples and at Pasco for potatoes and onions. But Mr. Allred says Amtrak must grant a slight increase in its 220 thousand pound gross weight limit to maximize revenue. Cars will have reporting marks, and are leased with option to purchase.
President Trifiletti then convened the Board, Chairman Chuck Mott now presiding. Acting Secretary Rocky Shay called the roll of Board members.
Minutes from the WASHarp March meeting were unanimously approved.
Acting Secretary Shay read a resolution that the board accept the resignation of Secretary Noel Hancock and appoint Mr. Shay as Secretary, have the two men trade seats on the Board, and thank Mr. Hancock for his service as Secretary. Vice President Neal questioned the need for the Board seat trade and moved to eliminate it. President Trifiletti seconded. Mr. Neal’s motion was unanimously approved. There was no further discussion. The resolution to change Secretaries, as revised to eliminate the
Board change, was approved unanimously.
President Trifiletti then said he missed asking for bequest money to help with the recent pre-West Coast Rail Summit organizational meeting. He also said we may have to help pay for the summit. Asking Board guidance on whether to use the WASHarp cash account or bond fund, Mr. Trifilleti suggested the cash account. Treasurer Hans Mueller recommended the Bond Fund. Mr. Adams said there is a precedent for this. Mr. Mott asked for more details on the cash account. Mr. Trifiletti then moved to take 200 dollars from the cash account to help. Mr. Thorpe seconded. Vice President Neal asked for and received clarification on the nature of the recent pre-summit meeting. Mr. Menchhofer wondered which account earned better interest. Mr. Mott said the bond account. Mr. Trifiletti’s motion was then passed unanimously.
Chairman Mott said WASHarp used to be the only game in town when it came to passenger rail, but now the State, Talgo, Sound Transit and others are involved. He praised the decision to fund an Executive Director position 16 years ago, but he said we are now being invited to do more events and costs are growing. He said dues are no longer sufficient and we must discuss new ways to boost the budget from 32 thousand to 50 thousand dollars a year. We may even need staff, like Transportation Choices, which has tapped grants and corporations for help. Mr. Mott said he has been in touch with member Ellen Barton, who made suggestions several years ago. Those are now being implemented, including learning how to apply for grants. Mr. Mott also said there will be a fundraising letter soon. We are now doing fundraising letters twice a year.
Dr. Sheck suggested asking big organizations for tips on how they do this.
Mr. Rohrer asked which state has the most organized rail advocates. The answer…California and New York have roughly two thousand each.
Mr. Lawrence, a former TRAC Director, said TRAC shares a lobbyist with the Planning and Conservation League.
Mr. Mott praised Mr. Flem and said WASHarp has the best system.
Mr. Hamre suggested a Corporate Committee.
Mr. Mott asked Mr. Carlin to prepare a survey of other ARPS and see how we might go after grants. Mr. Hamre noted that you must have specific programs in mind when you apply for grants.
President Trifiletti then adjourned the board.
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE: Chairman Robert Lawrence said we now have 514 members. He mentioned that May 1st was Amtrak’s birthday, showed a Wenatchee meeting flyer and mentioned the Issaquah Trolley. He also said new brochures would be out in a week or two.
Mr. Menchhofer urged quick mailing of Wenatchee meeting forms. Mr. Adams asked about hotel arrangements. Vice President Neal said he would send about 100 flyers to Eastern Washington members, upon reimbursement for postage.
Mr. Allred said Amtrak has commissioned J. Craig Thorpe to do a poster of Washington Fruit Express.
PUBLICITY COMMITTEE: Chairman Ron Sheck said there will be a pre-summit meeting just before or after Railvolution September 14th, 15th and 16th. By June, there will be agenda decisions. Commuter Rail agencies are interested. He is having trouble getting suggestions. The goal is to be ready for next year’s legislature. Dr. Sheck said West Coast groups must find ways to work together and learn from each other.
Dr. Sheck said funding for the rail summit should be from corporate sponsors, suppliers and railroads. It should be held in either San Francisco or San Jose. Asked his preference, Dr. Sheck said San Jose, because of lower costs and all the rail things there. Dr. Sheck also mentioned the move to revive the Coast Daylight.
Chairman Mott thanked Dr. Sheck said there is much work ahead, including getting AORTA on board with the summit after an apparent miscommunication left them out of the pre-summit meeting.
Dr. Sheck said his book is coming along, but he may have to rethink the 24-page limit. More money needed.
He also mentioned the Wallingford Street Fair July 8th, which focuses on transportation. WASHarp, People for Modern Transit, and others will have booths. He is also trying to get Sound Transit there. There is a 50-dollar charge for booth space.
Dr. Sheck said People for Modern Transit wants to strongly support Sound Transit Light Rail and will launch a fundraising campaign with a new business group. Dr. Sheck thinks the South part of the light rail system must be built first. He said Sounder Commuter Rail is doing well, but is behind schedule and we must call for more of it. He plans a letter to the editor of the PI and similar letters to Sound Transit board members urging them to redo agreements to speed development of Sounder.
MISCELLENEOUS: Mr. Allred says the legislature has restored some money lost because of Initiative 695. Mr. Mott said he understands the courts have given the legislature latitude to add some money back to the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax…good because Governor Locke’s budget is all gasoline tax and thus not usable for rail. There is little support in the legislature for a gasoline SALES tax. Mr. Allred also noted higher truck fees.
Dr. Sheck praised Mr. Thorpe’s work on the Issaquah Trolley and said King County Executive Ron Sims is supportive. He also thanked members Jim Cusick, Roger Mumm, and Loren Herringstad for their work. Mr. Thorpe thanked everyone who helped with the trolley and said he hopes for expansion. Public event Saturday the 19th.
Mr. Thorpe then mentioned that he did the new Capitol Corridor Timetable cover, and WASHarp Member Al Runte wrote text emphasizing rail and conservation. Also, Mr. Thorpe said the New York DOT has asked him to do a painting of its refurbished Turbos on the Hudson. He has also told the agency about WASHarp. He said THEIR experience and experience in California serve as guides for us.
TRANSIT COMMITTEE: Chairman Erik Griswold spoke of a planned meeting with Sound Transit. He thanked God that the PI article stating that Sound Transit had deliberately misled voters on light rail costs was not true.
Mr. Mott praised Sound Transit’s Ann Fennesey’s work on getting the PI article recalled. Mr. Shay said the addition of former KIRO-KNWX Radio reporter Lee Somerstein to Sound Transit’s PR staff should help improve the agency’s image.
Mr. Griswold then announced that he will be leaving the Chairmanship of the Transit Committee soon because his wife will be going to college in Los Angeles. He will move there, but will continue as a WASHARP member.
Mr. Griswold closed by saying that Sounder is what’s carrying Sound Transit now. He also noted new surveys calling Seattle’s traffic now SECOND-worst in the nation, behind Los Angeles.
INTERSTATE 405 UPDATE: Member Jim Cusick is discouraged about news coverage of the citizens committee working on this. He said the Seattle Times mentioned a light rail plan when there isn’t any. He said that ironically, the best piece was from the Seattle PI reporter who wrote the erroneous article on Sound Transit Light Rail!
Mr. Cusick mentioned a recent telephone survey that said people want both more lanes AND light rail on the Eastside, but don’t think users should have to pay for roads! He says the PI missed this.
Mr. Cusick said Kennydale opposes use of the BNSF Woodinville Subdivision as a transit corridor. He says the neighborhood association overestimates noise levels.
Mr. Cusick also said he is trying to get the Citizens Committee to apply rail cost scrutiny to roads.
President Trifiletti adjourned the meeting at 3:38 PM for Chairman Chuck Mott’s surprise 60th birthday party across the hall. The party started with a prayer of thanks for Chuck, then continued with food and fun.
Rocky Shay, Secretary
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