Minutes – April 18, 2009 – New Buffalo


Monthly Membership Meeting
Hannah’s Restaurant, New Buffalo, MI
April 18, 2009

Those Signing In: Hugh Gurney, Don Montieth, Rich Vavra-Musser, John Langdon, James Wallberg, Dianne Patterson, Robert Patterson, Burton Ten Brink, Clark Charnetski, Steve T. Sobel, Dave Randall, John Guidinger, Jim Hinkins, Bob Tischbein, Jack Kessler, J. R. Valderas, Kay Chase, Jesse Auerbach, Tim Fischer, John DeLora

Also Present: New Buffalo Mayor Gary Ramberg

Call to Order: Chairman DeLora called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m., following the joint meeting of MARP & MWHSRA addressing the Porter, IN – Chicago “Gap”. Minutes of that meeting were done by Kay Chase.

Regional Chair Reports:

East/Central: Fischer reported that no issues had come to his attention since the last meeting.

Northern: Monteith reported that the Traverse City area had set aside $2 million for support of rail.

Western: The Pere Marquette will celebrate its 25th year of service on August 5, 2009, according to Langdon. Ideas for celebrating this silver anniversary are being formulated.

Metro: Hinkins reported that commuter service between Ann Arbor and Detroit is slated to start in October, 2010, with four round trips daily. Bridge replacement and a crossover at West Detroit must be accomplished before that date. The cost of these improvements will be $20 m. The plan is to use the same equipment for both the Ann Arbor-Detroit route and the WALLY.

Surveyors’ tapes on the ground indicate progress on the Birmingham/Troy Transportation Center.

Roger Penske has pledged his support for Woodward Avenue light rail. Work should commence next year.

The proposed demolition of the Michigan Central Depot in Detroit is on hold at the moment.

National Train Day commemorations are slated for Detroit and Ann Arbor on May 9.

Coordinator Reports:

Membership:Vavra-Musser announced that we now have our first Advocate member, joining at the $100 level. Copies of the new membership brochure were distributed. Chase reminded all that the old brochures must now be recycled. Langdon and Valderas agreed to create a pdf version on the MARP website. DeLora stressed that the most effective use of the brochures will be distribution on the trains themselves.

Communications: No Report

Meetings: Montieth handed out a schedule of the meeting dates and locations for the remainder of 2009. Chase reported that the Annual Meeting is now set for Kalamazoo on September 12. The site of the meeting is still to be determined. Vavra-Musser suggested we invite Congressman Schauer. DeLora suggested we present an award to either Schauer or Gordon MacKay.

Governmental/Public Affairs: Langdon urged members to involve themselves in the Let’s Get Moving Legislative Day, scheduled for April 21 in Lansing . Those attending should meet at 8:45 a.m. that morning in the cafeteria of the House Office Building .

As to funding, we should have an answer for the remainder of 2009 on April 21. For 2010, the current proposal is for $5.6 million to support Amtrak, far below the current $7.1 level. DeLora recommended a $1.00 tax on each ticket to provide the additional funds needed. New Buffalo Mayor Ramberg suggested $5.00 per ticket. Ten Brink suggested that we ask for a check off on the state income tax return for trains.

National Train Day: Valderas handed out a list of what is planned in for National Train Day on May 9 in Bangor , Niles , Kalamazoo , Jackson , Lapeer and Detroit . Proclamations will also be presented in Ann Arbor and Holland without additional festivities. We have been very successful in lining up sponsors in each community and they will be recognized on posters and other publicity. In each participating community, posters will be placed in depots, schools, libraries, stores and other places where people gather.

DeLora reminded all that they should wear their ID tags while assisting at these events. If you don’t have one, Valderas will make one for you. Chase reported that, in conjunction with National Train Day, MARP will be presenting a certificate to the Kalamazoo Garden Club for their beautification efforts around the station. A Kalamazoo County Resolution will be presented to Amtrak. Additional festivities will take place at the Kalamazoo Model Railroad headquarters a few blocks north of the depot.

DeLora reported that Valderas is working on a newsletter similar to The Michigan Passenger which NARP will hand out in conjunction with National Train Day. It was moved by Randall that MARP be authorized to spend up to $500.00 for a Michigan add on to this publication. The motion was seconded by Charnetski and passed by the membership present.

Committee Reports:

Outreach: Randall confirmed that MARP had paid for a table at the National Steam Festival in Owosso in July. Wallington has arranged that our meeting take place at the Indian Trails headquarters with them shuttlin us down to the festival. Chase stressed the need to be represented at Earth Day events and Energy Fairs. Robert Patterson still has green buttons we can hand out. New Buffalo Mayor Ramberg recommended adding a section on to the MARP website dealing with rail’s energy savings.

REC: No report

Get Michigan On Track: Already reported by Vavra-Musser under Membership.

Minutes: Gurney distributed copies of the meeting of February 21, 2009, in Durand. After revision, approval was moved by Langdon, seconded by Charnetski, and agreed to by the members present.

It was moved by Langdon that MARP make a donation not to exceed $250.00 for purchase of a section of fence at Durand Union Station. The motion was seconded by Gurney and approved by the members present.

Fill the Gap Follow Up:

Langdon offered to work with Rick Harnish of MWHSRA on a follow up meeting to identify:
• What the Options Are
• Who Is Currently On Board
• Who Should Be On Board
• Develop A Draft Letter to Those Not Currently On Board
• Identify Funding Sources

Langdon feels we should focus on key players in Ohio , Indiana , Michigan and Illinois .

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Hugh D. Gurney, Secretary


John Delora, Chair