Meeting Minutes – Executive Committee – October 8, 2011 – Jackson


OCTOBER 8, 2011

Present: Robert Tischbein, David Randall, Hugh Gurney, John Langdon, Kay Chase, Jim Wallington, Don Monteith, Jim Hinkins, Kathleen Newell

Also Present:   Barry Adams, Gerald Smith, Burt Ten Brink, Norma Ward, Dick Pekarek, Larry Krieg, Dan Platz, John Guidinger, Clark Charnetski, Diane Paterson, Robert Patterson, Bill Simmons, Rick Ware, Marie Ware, Qingpeng Zhang, Cathy Hart, Belua Bouwsma

Call to Order:  Chairman Tischbein called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

Secretary’s Report:  Minutes of the Executive Committee and Monthly Membership Meetings held in Dowagiac on July 30, 2011 and the Executive Committee Meeting held inEast Lansing on August 20, 2011 were distributed and reviewed.  Wallington moved approval.  His motion was seconded by Langdon and approved by the members present.

Gurney then asked whether minutes should be posted on the website prior to approval.  Langdon moved that minutes should be posted to the web after review and approval by the Chair.  This motion was seconded by Chase and approved by the members present.

Treasurer’s Report:  Randall passed out the Treasurer’s Report for review.  As of September 30, 2011, the checking account stands at $9,074.34 and the Pratt Fund is valued at $13,660.83.  Our operating ratio is 63.87%.  Langdon suggested that for 2012, Randall prepare a grant schedule for the year.  Randall agreed.  Newell moved approval of the Treasurer’s Report.  This was seconded by Wallington and approved by the members present.

Coordinator Reports:

            Public & Governmental Affairs:  Langdon passed out a sheet showing the status of Stimulus Projects inMichigan,Indiana andIllinois.  The Englewood Flyover inIllinois, theTroyTransportationCenter and Railroad Repairs betweenDearborn andKalamazoo are now obligated.  Langdon explained that the current Indiana Gateway project deals with improvements to the existingNorfolk Southern line, Porter to theIllinois state line.  It does not include possible rerouting.  The purchase of theNorfolk Southern line fromDearborn toKalamazoo awaits approval by the Surface Transportation Board.

 Langdon urged all who could to attend the Michigan Rail Summit scheduled for October 31 inLansing.  Sponsoring partners include the Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, Michigan Railroads Association, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Municipal League and theRight Place.   There will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the newGrand Rapidsstation on October 14.

Langdon announced that Phase II of the grant from Transportation for Michigan (TRANS4M) in the amount of $2,500 had been approved today.  Former Congressman Mark Schauer is co-chair of Jobs 21, an initiative of the BlueGreen Alliance of labor, economic development, and environment that recognizes the potential of rail industry jobs.

Guidinger commented that Amtrak appears more forthcoming with information now than in the past. 

            Communications:  Chase reported that MARP members are invited to the next meeting of Operation Lifesaver at the Durand Union Station on November 4.  There will be an update from the Michigan Association of Railroads. Lunch will be provided.  RSVP to Sam Crowl.

The Michigan Railroad History Conference will take place atWesternMichiganUniversityinKalamazooon November 6.

TRANS4M is distributing post cards urging Governor Snyder to invest in transportation including public transportation and passenger rail.  She urged all to fill out a card today and urge others to do likewise. 

To keep members up to date, Chase will be publishing a monthly e-newsletter to go to all members with e-mail.

Chase then moved “that the Executive Committee accept the recommendations of the Publication Committee as circulated earlier via email and that a contract be entered into stipulating that the Editor of the Michigan Passenger will be paid the sum of $400 per issue for issues due to the printer by 1 November 2011, 16 January 2012 & 16 April 2012.  At the end of this trial period, the contract may be continued as mutually agreed to by the Executive Committee and the Editor.”  Gurney seconded the motion.  After discussion and clarification that a hard copy of the paper would be mailed to all members, one member noted that MARP would no longer be an all volunteer organization.  Langdon suggested approaching the Knight Foundation for a grant to support publication of the newspaper.  The question was called and the motion was passed by the members present.

                         Website:  No Report

                         The Michigan Passenger:  See above.

                         Outreach:  Tischbein passed out a list of all upcoming outreach events.  All members are urged to help staff outreach tables at these events.

            Membership:  Newell reported that the membership rosters are now up to date with the exception of three renewals and one contribution not posted.  She asked Randall to note the month and year received on membership forms before forwarding them to her.

Chase added that we currently have 234 paid members.  She has e-mail addresses for 212 of these.  Her total e-mail list is 310. 

It was agreed that it was too late for a second renewal notice in 2011.  The Treasurer was asked to get renewal notices for 2012 out shortly after the first of the New Year.

            Meetings:  Wallington announced that the next meeting will take place at the St. Joseph Amtrak Station at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 12.  There will be no meeting in December.

The schedule for 2012 is starting to come together.  Hinkins is working on a possible meeting in March inPontiacand Monteith is looking into the possibilities of a meeting up north in the fall.  Wallington is exploring the pros and cons of an excursion aboard the Little River Steam Railroad in conjunction with a November, 2012, meeting.

 Regional Chapter Reports:

            Northern:  Monteith reported that he had been advocating for a rail spur to serve the proposed Kennecott Eagle Mineral Company mine inMichigammeTownship,MarquetteCounty, to move 16,000,000 tons of ore annually to a processing plant atHumbolt,Michigan.  Construction of a 22 mile road would cost $60,000,000.  Monteith feels that a rail spur would be more cost effective to build, operate and maintain, safer, and more environmentally friendly.  One train daily would replace fifty 100,000 pound trucks on the road 250 days each year and would use only 20-30% as much fuel.  The proposed rail spur would connect the mine with Ishpeming, L’Anse, Houghton and Marquette.

 On September 27, 2011, Monteith attended Michigan Tech’s annual fall Career Fair, which included the school’s Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the Railroad Engineering Activities Club.  A total of 251 corporations and 3,100 students participated. A Rail Information Night permitted industry representatives and students to meet for discussions, followed by a social gathering.  The theme of the event was “Electrical Engineering in the Rail Industry.” RTP, CN and the Union Pacific Railroad hosted the event. Monteith attended MDOT presentations on the Draft State Rail Plan in Escanaba on June 14 andTraverse Cityon June 15.  On October 3, 2011, Monteith, Langdon and Chase attended a session inTraverse Cityentitled,”Michigan: the Logistics Hub of theMidwest.”  This was put on by the West Michigan Policy Forum, a regional group of Chambers of Commerce.  Speakers emphasized the opportunity forMichiganto gain from the increase in freight coming into thePortofHalifax.

             Metro Detroit:  Hinkins has yet to see any activity on theWest Detroit project.  Funding for theTroyTransportationCenter has been obligated.  Hinkins is working on a meeting in March at the newPontiacTransportationCenter. Charnetski noted that the implosion of DDOT may help the effort for a Southeast Michigan Transportation Authority.

             East/Central:  Wallington reported that the Blue Water had been generally on time both eastbound and westbound during the past month.  Pekarek noted lots of dwell time at stations westbound and suggested that the schedule could be tightened.

 The Executive Committee Meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

 Respectfully submitted:                                  Accepted:

 Hugh D. Gurney                                             Robert Tischbein

Secretary                                                         Chair