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October 1999 General Meeting Minutes

October 1999 General Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Meeting

Washington Association of Rail Passengers

General Meeting

Oct. 9th, 1999 in Mt. Vernon, WA


Tony Trifiletti, President

Chuck Mott, BOD Chair

Hans Mueller, Treasurer

Mike Skehan, Secretary

Lloyd Flem, Ex. Director

Dale Menchofer, Jim Hamre, Stuart Adams, Paul Scott, Jim Holley, Warren Yee, Ray Allred, Gordon Tiley, Darlene Flem, Nancy Totten, Roger Bennett, Eva Allred, Jim McIntosh, Zack Willhoite, Eleanor Stewart, Mark Lawrence, Robert Lawrence

12:30 Call to Order, Tony Trifiletti, President

Minutes of 9-11-99 were approved.


Treasurer: Hans reported an income for Sept of $1,448 and expenses of $1,432. Members added (6), lost (0) bringing membership to another record level of 519. Total Net Worth is 28,010.72

Special Guest, Sen. Georgia Gardner from Blaine spoke to the membership about Amtrak service in the north cascades corridor. She gave insight into funding priorities of train, ferry, and HOV improvements in the last session. Her feeling is that train service is likely to be cut, and certainly no new trains would be added as a result of I-695 passing. Our elected officials will be hard pressed to rebalance all the priorities with the loss of ¾ Billion in annual revenue.

She noted that commuters to Everett and beyond would likely use the train, IF, the service began and ended at times convenient to work schedules. Right now, Boeing Everett is the largest single employer in Skagit County, and nearly so in Whatcom County.

Sen. Gardner fielded a number of questions from the group, including train schedules for tourists and Christmas shoppers, Blue Ribbon Cmte findings of rail popularity, state participation in Sound Transit rail improvements, additional stops in British Columbia, signage at stations promoting Amtrak, student travel at WWU via train, and sales tax on gas as an addition source of revenue. Her response was an enthusiastic YES to all ideas that promote train travel as an efficient use of tax dollars to move people.

Marketing and Membership: New Chair, Robert Lawrence reported on activities and ideas to boost membership. Several ideas he is working towards are putting brochures in stations and on trains, proposing an "Adopt-A-Station" program to get local groups more involved in their community, Kiosks at stations to simplify reservation, and connections to other modes.

Jim Holley wins the award for "Most Adventurist Member" to make it to a meeting. He explained his itinerary from Seattle to Mt. Vernon, using a variety of bus and ferry systems between Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Clinton, and Oak Harbor. After and long day, and spending $2.05, he made it to the meeting on time!

Executive Director: Lloyd Flem reported on DC happenings (complete details in the last newsletter). Most prominently is S-1144, the "Choice" legislation that allows states to spend trust fund money on rail service improvements. This is the only mode that is specifically exempt from using these funds. So far 23 Senators have sponsored the bill.

Transportation Sec., Rodney Slater was in town for a WTO forum, which praised our NW Corridor as a model for the rest of the nation. (Ed: hopefully the model won’t be trashed by I-695 passage)

Several communities (Kelso and Mt. Vernon) will be looking towards volunteer programs to staff stations, as has been so successfully done in Lacey/Olympia. Ticket machines would be a great addition.

Chuck Mott reported on the success in Shelby, MT. Mail and Express should be started in the near future as a direct result of our intervention with Amtrak National.

The Blue Ribbon Committee should conclude their work by the end of next year. The findings phase is nearly complete, with rail at the top of the list of a recent statewide poll of 800 voters. Chuck encouraged members to attend committee hearings, as the panel will be looking for recommendations to make to the Governor and Legislature.

The Amtrak stop in Mt. Vernon will be relocated to the downtown core from its present location as funding becomes available. The city is encouraging this move to make rail a viable transportation alternative to a pedestrian friendly core, as well as multi-modal facilities with local bus services.

Transit: Mike Skehan reported the dissolution of the Puget Sound Light Rail Transit Society as a non profit organization. After settlement of all debts, any remaining assets will be donated to WashARP, along with a final letter to all past members encouraging them to join with us. In the same vein, Mike is working with PMT (People for Modern Transit) as an organization that has been inactive for some time.

On a sad note, long time member Addis Babbit passed away recently. Our sympathy goes out to his family. Addis was among the most active supporters of the Lacey volunteer program, and his presence will truly be missed

The meeting was adjourned at 3:05

Respectfully Submitted, Michael Skehan, Secretary

PS: Jim was last seen hitching a ride back to Seattle with another member!

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