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November 1999 General Meeting Minutes

November 1999 General Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Meeting

Washington Association of Rail Passengers

General Meeting

Nov. 13th, 1999 in Seattle, WA

12:00 Call to Order, Tony Trifiletti, President

Minutes of 10-9-99 were deferred for approval.

Tony chaired our meeting. Lloyd gave him a gavel he inherited from his late father.

Hans gave the treasurer report, with a balance of 1,602.50. Membership lost 8 and gained 2 for the prior month.

Lloyd reported that he and Darleen are moving back to Olympia. This will help in our upcoming efforts with the state legislature. Bob Lawrence is working on our adopt-a-station program.

Noel Hancock gave a report on the Amtrak customer Advisory Committee in Milwaukee. They recommenced more bicycle handling on the trains. Mayor Norquist spoke eloquently about the historic switch from trains to autos. Noel has been assigned to recommend minimum station standards. He noted that Mt. Vernon has no schedule posted and no publicity that a train stops there for passengers. He recently noted that 16 people were waiting for the morning southbound train. About half were going to destinations beyond Seattle.

Jim Hamre reported on recent NARP directors meeting in Toronto. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Business Unit chief gave a report. On board service appears to be improving. Canada’s VIA Rail is facing another crisis and may have to spin off the Canadian to private sources. VIA’a annual budget has been unchanged for several years. Amtrak fares were also discussed. There should be a goal to fill the trains by lowering fares if unsold seats are available, similar to the airline’s sales strategy. Stewart Adams took the Canadian one way and the Empire Builder the other and had a good trip on both trains. Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson sent his colleagues a letter asking them to support Amtrak’s budget.

There will be a public session of the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee on Feb. 6, in Portland. Contact Noel for details.

Lloyd reported because I-695 passed, the state rail program is in serious trouble. The legislative Transportation Committee led by Aubrey Davis advocates saving the rail program. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen will fight with us. Our goal is to keep the trains running. The political climate may change over the next couple of years. If the train service disappears in our state, it may be impossible to revive it. We will be working with Talgo, Amtrak Oakland and the Brotherhoods, but grass root efforts must come from us. Decisions will probably be made before the January session. A fund raising letter to our members will include information from Lloyd on this matter. We have permission to put WashARP brochures on the Cascade trains. Chuck added that we are not crying wolf when we announce we could lose our northwest trains. This is similar to the recent Oregon rail funding crisis. The contract with BNSF and Sound Transit supports commuter trains plus additional intercity passenger trains. Funding for this contract may be in danger. It is time to get creative: We will look at commuter service into the Boeing Everett plant. The Puget Sound is in danger of exceeding EPA pollution standards, which would lead to fines to our major employers. Passage of I-695 has changed the processes of the Blue Ribbon Transportation Committee. We will require special contributions for WashARP efforts this session. The transportation improvements expected from Ref. 49 bonds are gone.

We will have a special meeting with Aubrey Davis at our regular meeting on Dec. 4 at the University Plaza Hotel, in Seattle. Make special invitations to friends and family

Sound Transit will be deciding it’s final Link Rail plan on Nov. 18. Commuter cars will be arriving shortly.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00

Respectfully Submitted, Mathew Lawson, for Michael Skehan

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