Meeting Minutes – Executive Committee – August 20, 2011 – East Lansing


AUGUST 20, 2011

Present:  Jim Wallington, Barney Whittier, John Langdon, Kay Chase, Hugh Gurney, Bob Tischbein, Kathleen Newell, Jim Hinkins

Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 10:40 a.m. by Chairman Tischbein.

Newsletter: Aware of the resignation of Valderas as editor at the July 30 meeting, a lengthy discussion ensued about the direction MARP should now take to get its message out.  Should we continue with The Michigan Passenger in its present format on a quarterly basis, should we go to an 8 ½”x11” format like the NARP orNew YorkState publications, or should we rely mainly on an e-mail publication, or do some combination of these formats.  It was decided that a committee consisting of Chase, Wallington, Gurney andWhittier would sort these issues out and make a recommendation at the October 8 meeting.

It was agreed that we should advertize among our membership for a new editor.  Chase thought a student intern was a possibility.  Langdon agreed to check out the community college inHolland.  Wallington suggested Sobczak, our webmaster.  There was general, but not total, agreement that we might have to pay a new editor.

TRANS4M-   Transportation For Michigan:  Chase handed out a briefing statement on Trans4M, a coalition of groups working for better public transportation, including trains, intercity bus and urban transit.  MARP is one of the original members.  Langdon, Chase and Monteith are the most involved.  Langdon and Monteith serve on the Outreach Committee which is attempting to bring additional organizations into the coalition, thus increasing its clout.  They also serve on the Policy Team which has three major goals:  

            Passage of a rail bonding bill in the state legislature

            Local implementation of the “Complete Streets” legislation passed in 2010

            Passage of legislation to enable formation of a Regional Transit Authority in

           Southeast Michigan.

 Chase is working with the Community Organizing Team which is developing toolkits and training materials to help in engaging citizens in transportation policy decisions which will advance the Trans4M mission.

As to the rail bonding bill, Langdon noted that it had been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives.  It is a way to come up with the approximately $28 m match required to capture the high speed rail grants promised toMichiganby the U. S. Department of Transportation.

Route Enhancement Committee:  Langdon expressed pleasure that members were becoming more active in promoting various rail services, but felt they needed the input and support of the Executive Committee to be spokespersons.  Chase agreed, and suggested that such activities be reviewed and approved by the Route Enhancement Committee.  Several of the newer members present were unfamiliar with the Route Enhancement Committee, so Gurney handed out copies of the Route Enhancement Committee (REC) recommendations made back in 2007.  Gurney agreed to reactivate the committee.

Membership:  Newell noted that membership to date is down from 2010.  Last year, we recruited 85 NARP members as new members.  To date, 47 of those, mostly senior citizens, have renewed.  Chase agreed to get the current NARP membership list from DeLora and send a letter to those not on our list.  She will also send out a reminder to all non renewing 2010 members.

Meetings:  Whittier reported that November 12 had been finalized as the date for the monthly meeting inSt. Joseph.  We will be meeting in the newly renovated St. Joseph Amtrak station.  A buffet will be set up for lunch.

Amtrak 40th Anniversary Train:  The special Amtrak 40th Anniversary Train will be on display in Jackson on October 8 & 9.  Those wishing to volunteer aboard the train can register with Amtrak.  Langdon has requested a MARP table at the Jackson Depot on those dates, to be shared with the Friends of the Jackson Station.  Volunteers are needed to staff our table.  If our request for a table is denied, we have the option of sharing a table with NARP.

Amtrak 2012 Budget: Langdon urged all to write letters to theirU. S. Senators and Representatives urging full funding for Amtrak in 2012.  Chase agreed and suggested we should be meeting these people during August when they are at home in their districts.  Langdon suggested that Larry Sobczak put information about district meetings on our web site.

Chase urged all to sign the Stand Up for Trains petition being circulated by NARP.  She would like to see MARP do a viewpoint letter in one major newspaper inMichigan.  We also need letters to the editor in all newspapers.  Langdon offered to contact NARP for assistance with strategy.

 Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

 Respectfully submitted:                                              Accepted:

 Hugh D. Gurney                                                         Robert Tischbein

Secretary                                                                     Chair