Meeting Minutes – Executive Committee — April 21, 2012 – Chelsea

APRIL 21, 2012

 Members Present: Robert Tischbein, Hugh Gurney, Dave Randall, John Langdon, Don Monteith, Kay Chase, Jim Hinkins

 Also Present:  Doug Wilson, Steve T. Sobel, Larry Bean, Gerri Anderson, Clark Charnetski, Dick Pekarek, Larry Krieg, Robert T. Shannon, Charles Merckel, Martha Wolfe, Julien Wolfe, Donna Tipton, Ron Tipton, Roger Webster, Steve Vagnozzi, Charley Bonnell, John Guidinger, Janet Howes, Joann Stoddart

 Call to Order:  Chairman Tischbein called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m. All in attendance were asked to introduce themselves and their particular interest in passenger rail.

 Secretary’s Report:  Minutes of the March Executive Committee Meeting and the March General Membership Meeting were reviewed.  Langdon moved acceptance of the minutes of the March Membership Meeting.  Monteith seconded the motion and these minutes were approved by the members present.

 Langdon then moved acceptance of the March Executive Committee minutes.  Chase seconded the motion and it was approved by the members present.

 Treasurer’s Report:  Randall passed out the Treasurer’s Report.  As of March 31, 2012, the MARP checking account totaled $10,762.58 and the Pratt Fund had a value of $16,766.37.  Randall noted that $2,500 of the grant from TRANS4M had been received.  TRANS4M expenses are recorded as they are paid.

 Langdon moved acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report, seconded by Gurney.  Acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report was approved by the members present.

 In response to a question from Chase, Randall stated that he was reviewing the possibility of moving the Pratt Fund to a Vanguard account.  Fees would be much lower.  He will make a formal recommendation in the near future.

 Coordinator Reports:

            Government Affairs:  Langdon distributed the current Amtrak Passenger Service Announcement detailing schedule changes during track work on the Wolverine line.  The track work should be completed in the next two weeks.

 Michigan can expect to receive twenty of the 130 bi-level coaches to be ordered in October, 2012.  GE is pushing to hold speed of the new locomotives to 110 mph. The first of the new coaches and the new locomotives are expected to go into service in 2015.

 With luck, the Regional Transportation Authority bill could come to the floor of the Michigan Senate next week.  The primary bill has been reported out of committee.  Questions about zoning authority and the provision for unanimous consent on rail projects are holding up other sections of the proposal.  Washtenaw County is balking because state and federal money it now receives directly would go through the RTA.  Because the equipment used for the Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter trains may be stored in Jackson, there is some thought that Jackson County should be added to the RTA.

 Krieg reported that Washtenaw County might withdraw from the current RTA proposal.  It is working to become an independent Metropolitan Transportation Organization or MPO.

The Surface Transportation Board has received a petition from MDOT requesting permission to acquire the Dearborn-Kalamazoo sections of Norfolk Southern sometime between April 30 and May 31.  The Wayne Yard and the Willow Run Yard are excluded from the acquisition.  Apparently, yards in Jackson and Battle Creek would go to MDOT.

            Communications:  Chase noted the need to get word out about existing train service in our communities.  She will be reviewing with Larry Sobczak the agreement for editing the newsletter.

            Membership: Reporting for Newell, Chase stated that membership renewals were trailing off and a second renewal notice should go out soon.  An invitation to NARP members not currently MARP members is in the works.

            Meetings:  Reporting for Wallington, Gurney announced that the next meeting would take place at 10:00 a.m. on June 16 at the Muskegon Union Station in Muskegon.

Regional Chapter Reports:

Northern: Monteith expressed concern that the historic railroad ferry, S.S. Badger, could be shut down at the end of December, 2012, because it continues to dump toxic ash into Lake Michigan.  The vessel was constructed by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad as a railroad car ferry between Ludington and several points on the western shores of Lake Michigan.  It currently ferries autos, trucks, buses, and heavy equipment between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, during the spring, summer and fall months.  Plans are in the works for conversion of the ship to natural gas, but that is expensive and will take time. A committee including Monteith, Chase, Gurney and Larry Bean of the Chelsea Depot Association will review the most suitable response for MARP. A major question is whether the ash can be unloaded and sold to someone or trucked to a suitable land fill until the natural gas conversion is complete. 

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


Respectfully Submitted:                                             Accepted:




Hugh D. Gurney                                                         Robert Tischbein

Secretary                                                                     Chair