Meeting Minutes – Executive Committee – July 30, 2011 – Dowagiac

JULY 30, 2011


Present: Tischbein, Gurney, Randall, Chase, Langdon, Monteith,Whittier

Members & Guests Present: Larry Krieg, Steve T. Sobel, Doug Wilson, Dick Pekarek, Diane Patterson, Robert Patterson, Eugene T. Quail, J. R. Valderas, Daniel Myers, Mary Lou Myers, Paul Willer, Rich Vavra-Musser, Ron Leatz

Call to Order:  Chairman Tischbein called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.  With seven members present, a quorum was ascertained.

Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting and the Monthly Membership Meeting, both held inSouth Lyon on June 11, 2011 were reviewed.  Langdon moved approval, seconded by Randall.  The minutes were approved by voice vote.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer Randall distributed copies of his report for review.  At the end of June, the balance in the checkbook was $10,886.88 and the value of the Pratt Fund was $15,961.20.  Randall asked the committee to consider moving the Pratt Fund to an index fund, which would be paying more.  He will be sending out a reminder dues notice in the near future.  Approval of the Treasurer’s report was moved byWhittier, seconded by Monteith and approved by committee members present.

Coordinator Reports:

            Government Affairs:  Langdon handed out a list of all the High Speed Rail Grants not yet obligated, which total $268,201,084.  This includes the entire Kalamazoo-Dearborn purchase and upgrade and theAnn Arbor station. Dearborn is scrambling to get funds for its station obligated. Battle Creek station upgrades have been obligated.  Langdon urged members to contact theirU. S. Senators and Representatives to push for obligating the remainder of the funds. 

The highest priority before theMichiganlegislature is the bonding issue, which would permit $100 million of the $1 billion the state is authorized to borrow to be used for rail capital improvements.  This would provide the $37 million match needed to capture the high speed rail grants.  MDOT, Amtrak and the FRA have been working together and are now ready to make an offer to purchase the Dearborn-Kalamazoo trackage fromNorfolkSouthern.

 PRIIA 209 remains an issue.  One possible solution may be to have at least one of the Wolverines go through toCanada.

            Communications: Chase noted that after the meeting and after lunch, we will have an opportunity to visit theSouthwesternMichiganCollegeMuseum, which includes a very nice train exhibit and a large collection of Round Oak stoves.

            Newsletter:  An ad hoc committee is working on this issue.

            Membership: No report

            Meetings: Wallington sends word that he has confirmed all meetings for the remainder of 2011.  For the Annual Meeting in September, Langdon noted that the Mayor of Battle Creek, former State Senator and U. S. Representative Joe Schwartz and MDOT’s Tim Hoeffner have been invited.  The meeting will take place on September 10 at Clara’s on the River.

Regional Chapter Reports:

            Northern: Monteith reminded all that we must maintain the existing freight railroads inNorthern Michigan if we hope to resurrect passenger service in the future.  He will be doing a newsletter on ways to support freight rail.  Michigan Tech is looking into utilizing old rail ties and wood chips to fire power stations instead of coal.  This could generate more traffic for the railroads. 

Monteith would like to see a better connect between Indian Trails and the general public inNorthern Michigan.

            Metro Detroit: The ribbon cutting for the newPontiacTransportationCenter is August 8.  The Steam Railroad Institute will be running excursion trains during the Howell Melon Fest in August.

            East/Central:  Pekarek reported that work is underway at the Durand Union Station to repair water damage suffered in June affecting the Board Room and the Museum.  Most of the damage will be covered by insurance.

            Western:  Because of the Norfolk Southern slow orders, train #351 has been arriving in Kalamazoo at least an hour late.  On the Pere Marquette route, train #371 will be running one hour earlier for about ninety days due to track work.

Adjournment:  The Executive Committee Meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.


Respectfully Submitted:                                             Accepted:

Hugh D. Gurney                                                         Robert Tischbein

Secretary                                                                     Chair