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October 1997 Minutes

October 1997 Minutes

Washington Association of Rail Passengers
Board of Directors' Meeting
October 11. 1997. University Plaza Hotel, Seattle, Washington

Executive committee Members:
Chuck Mott, President; Dennis Fait, Vice-Pres. West; Hans Mueller, Treasurer; Lloyd Flem, Exec. Director; Ellen Barton, Secretary; Jim Hamre, Newsletter Editor.

Board of Directors:
Dale Menchhofer, Paul Scott, George Benson, Loren Herrigstad, Rocky Shay, Steve Spear, Bill Weeks, ELeanor Stewart, Stephanie Weber, Warren Yee, Noel Hancock, Roger Mumm, Jerome Sheldon.

Members and Guests:
Stuart Adams, Tony Trifiietti, Peter Chelemedos, Jim Holley, Frank Waldo, Chuck Larrabee, Gordon Jackins, Robert Karmil, Dave Clinton, Jim Cowardin, Jim Mclntosh, Kay Chelemedos, Lee Ness, Robert Rohrer, Shirley Waido, Leroy Chadwick.

Meeting Minutes:

The meeting was called to order at 12:54 pm by President Chuck Mott. The agenda was approved with the addition of four items:

  1. Proposed resolution to support Thru-way Bus Service (W. Yee)
  2. Report from Ritzville re: lifting speed restrictions (P. Scott)
  3. RTA Citizen Oversight panel: report (S. Weber)
  4. Announcements: Rocky Shay, Leroy Chadwick, Noel Hancock

The meeting minutes for September were approved with two corrections: A discussion of developments at Stampede Pass occurred, led by Rocky Shay, whose attendance was mistakenly omitted.

The Treasurer's Report showed an increase in membership, by one. Volunteers to phone members for renewal were solicited. Noel Hancock, Dennis Fait and Bill Weeks volunteered.

Upcoming meetings:

Excepts from Executive Director Lloyd Flem's legislative report: In response to an U.S. Mews and World Report article which characterized Amtrak as unfairly subsidized, Empire State Passenger alliance's Frank Berry Wrote an eloquent rebuttal.

Incremental train speed increases have been shown to be safer at grade crossings, though concrete data are not yet available. WSDOT and BN have met with resistance particularly in smaller towns. specifically at the Ritzville public meeting.

British Columbia continues its lack of support for Amtrak, requiring reduced speeds at White Rock where one child was killed. By contrast, the parallel road allows much higher speeds and heavier traffic which have been the cause of many deaths. No reduction in automobile speeds have been proposed.

Continuation of the Coast starlight to Bellingham seems like a possibility. though Jeff Schultz says that there is no budget for such service. Need to sell legislators on the idea. Through-way bus service should be offered in the interim.

August Amtrak ridership was the best ever, gaining every month. Reconciliation of the House and Senate budgets shows slow progress. The $2.3 billion allocated will not be available until Amtrak reauthorization passes. Letters to President Clinton should forestall a possible veto.

Emphasize "Local Control" to allow states the right to choose what transportation mode to invest ISTEA funds. Local Control is a mantra which should appeal to Republicans, specifically.

Save and develop King Street station, a new group in interested in promoting King Street station as a Transportation Center through public and private investment. Consultant Christine Hill invites WashARP participation. George Benson a likely nominee.

Working Together: various rail interests have had difficulty working as allies. Lloyd Flem has received funding to address a Washington D. C. group, choosing this as his topic.

Mid-day train to Portland possible in April or May 1998. Approval is tied to Talgo capabilities, Jeff Schultz. Discussion of possible configuration and equipment allocation ensued.

Web Page: new address-Please direct comments or suggestions directly to Warren Yee.

Regional Transit Authority Citizen Oversight Panel delivered its first quarterly report on performance mid-September. The four projects are on schedule and the report along with updated information can be found on the RTA web site. Among topics being considered are field offices for improved communication, joint process for land use planning.

Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee report from Noel Hancock was preceded by the announcement of Washington's newest excursion train from Elma to Bremerton. The Committee is focusing on correcting inconsistent service, specifically on methods of training for service staff. Next meeting will take place in "dead head" equipment, culminating in a tour of Chicago station.

Proposed Resolutions as filed by Vice President East, Jim Neal. detailing a re-structure of membership fees based on sections of interest, with the creation of a position of Vice President- Transit, provoked heated discussion. The underlying reason for the proposal has been to accommodate the merger of the Commuter/Rail Passenger Coalition, which is currently stalled. Discussion focused on the limited gain we could expect from the merger versus the effort of compromise which the proposed restructure would require. Questions were raised about:

- How the proposed sections would differ from subcommittees, without any fee changes.
- How decisions about use of funds in the proposed sections would be made.
- Will this enhance WashARP's visibility and flexibility in the future.

In the absence of agreement on the resolutions, the motion was made to table the issue until the November meeting with all members of the Board of Directors to receive copies of the full text of the resolutions by mail before the November meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.


AORTA banquet changed from November 15 to November 8, same day as our meeting, at Mallory in Portland.

Candidate's Forum With Transportation emphasis on October 15, at the Tacoma Room of the Mountaineer's Club.

Asphalt Nation author will speak on October 23, at Gould Hall at University of Washington as a benefit for pedestrian advocacy group Feet First.

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm.

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Last Update: 01/04/00
Web Author: Warren Y. Yee