The meeting was called to order at 12:40 p.m. by Chuck Mott, President. The agenda was approved with four additions.
The April meeting minutes were approved unanimously.
The treasurer's report showed static membership level at 464 with expenses exceeding income by $649.18. A detailed report was filed with the Secretary and is available for interested Board members upon request
Executive Director Lloyd Flem did not file a report, due to absence while traveling in Europe.
The Amtrak West Survey results report published by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is available on the WashARP web page as well as in printed form. Jim Hamre distributed 5 copies to interested members.
The WSDOT Public Transportation Advisory Committee may generate a proposal that all Washington Residents have access to public transportation, according to Committee member Mike Skehan. A survey/ report will be published by July detailing the current level of service and the gaps in service, as well as recommendations for improvement and capital outlay required. In addition, international signage is being developed for placement at intermodal transport-ation stops to direct riders to connections or information sources.
Senator Jeannette Wood, staunch rail supporter and member of the Senate Transportation Committee spoke of the past session and specifically allocation of funds. Describing the detail the process by which a determined budget amount was available for allocation at this mid-term session, she then described the "emergency" issues which required immediate funding: education, violent crime, drunk driving penalties.
On the transportation issue, she described Referendum 49 as the "only game in town." Acknowledging the limitations to this referendum, she nonetheless expressed support for the opportunity for rail improvements included in it, emphasizing that this would have to be considered only a first step. Questions from Mike Skehan focussed on the questionable wisdom of debt financing selling $1.9 billion in bonds. Hal Cooper proposed the concept of a state "guarantee" for private investment, allowing the state to bank on the future profitability of the re-built Cascades Corridor (also suggesting that it is time to create a Puget Sound Port Authority).
President Chuck Mott indicated that WashARP would be willing to present a 25-year plan proposal to Senator Wood on state options for enhanced private sector investment, as an alternative to debt financing.
Committee participation, as distinct from Section membership, was clarified by Vice President Jim Neal who then made the motion that Paul Scott, Noel Hancock and himself be designated as the initial members of the Eastern Region Section. Second: Hal Cooper. Passed: UnanimouslyInitial Section goals were stated as follows:
Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee (ACAC) Report: Noel Hancock, WashARP's representative to the committee, reported that WashARP's reputation as an active and effective organization is known throughout the country. Emphasizing that the reports which he files with the Board of Directors on his ACAC work are confidential to the members of the Board of Directors and should not be quoted in outside publications or speeches, he then described a particular situation in which a transporation employee in a particular Eastern Washington town was unable to give trans-modal information regarding train service serving the same station. Working to educate and help improve such situations is part of the work WashARP and Amtrak face.
Hosting a public meeting at the public library in Wenatchee on June 20, 1998, from 9:00 to 12:00 am, Noel and other Eastern Region members will introduce attendees to WashARP's work and the benefits of membership. Everyone is welcome.
Commuter Rail Section Report: Conference scheduled for May 27 is expected to be well attended, complete with press coverage. The next scheduled Section meeting will be held on May 21 at the usual location.
National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) annual spring meeting report was given by Jim Hamre:
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