Meeting Minutes — Lansing – January 10, 2015

JANUARY 10, 2015

Present: Steve Sobel, David Williams, Clayton Farmer, Clark Charnetski, Chuck Merckel,, Jeanie Merckel Kim J. Powell, Don Monteith, Don W. Westcott, Bob Johnston, Warren Fritz, Larry Krieg, Darryl Apps, Kay Chase, Hugh Gurney, Bob Lovell, Jim Roach, Michael Frezell, Robert Patterson, Diane Patterson, Bob Tischbein, Jim Hinkins, Larry Swartz, Nancy L. Swartz, Norma L. Ward, Barb Spaulding-Westcott, Charles Bonnell, Dave VanderBee, Richard Pekarek, John Burmen, Andrew Kent, JP Descamp, Dan Platz, Steve Vagnozzi, John Langdon, Jim Wallington

Chairman Larry Krieg opened the meeting with a safety briefing.

Individuals in attendance introduced themselves.

A MOTION by Dave Williams, seconded by John Langdon, was made to accept the Order of Business for the meeting as presented. MOTION PASSED.

A MOTION by John Langdon, seconded by Dave Williams, was made to accept the minutes as amended by Kay Chase for the November 18, meeting in Port Huron. MOTION PASSED.

Jeanie Merckel presented the budget for 2015. 2015 budget is established at $17,000.00, up from $15,420.00 in 2014. $2,700 dollars from the 2014 budget was carried forward in the 2015 budget. A MOTION by Hugh Gurney, seconded by John Langdon, was made to accept the 2015 budget as presented. MOTION PASSED.

Jeanie Merckel presented the Treasurer’s Report. Income for 2014 was $16,273.95 (budgeted $14,700) and expenses were $13,914.63 (budgeted $15,420.00). The Pratt Fund as of 10/23/14 was $17,141.24 ($48.91 per share) and on 11/30/14 it was up to $18,083.99 ($51.60 per share) for a gain of $942.75. A MOTION by Clark Charnetski, seconded by Warren Fritz, was made to accept the treasurer’s report as presented. MOTION PASSED.

OUTREACH REPORT: Chuck Merckel reported that he is looking for additional Amtrak literature to hand out at the scheduled shows this winter. Amtrak is out of many pieces of literature and it is uncertain when the new material will be ready. Chuck gave a report on the December 15, 2014 Dearborn Station Open House in conjunction with the dedication of the new station. MARP was the only organization present to hand out information on rail travel. The event was well-attended and the many people stopping by the MARP table kept the volunteers busy handing out the information. Those that participated were Robert Patterson, Steve Sobel, Robert Tobleck, Chuck and Jeanie Merckel. Chairman Krieg thanks those that worked the show and congratulated them on a job well done.
MEMBERSHIP: Reported by Kay Chase
MARP Membership Analysis CY2014

Renewals 248
New 33
COMPLIMENTARY 12 (includes 2 for Library of Michigan)
TOTAL MEMBERSHIP 315 (this includes the 12 complimentary memberships)
Senior $15 152
Student $15 2
Regular $25 48
Family $30 29
Advocate $50 28
1st Class $100 13
LIFE $500 22
Gift & Comp 6

In-State 267
Out-of-State 33
Canada 5
England 1

Detroit Metro 150
East/Central 48
West 87
North 21

Total Dues Collected $7,250.00
Contributions $810.00

COMMUNICATIONS: Reported by Kay Chase
Larry Sobczak, editor of The Michigan Passenger, is working on the Winter issue which should be out soon.
Treasurer Jeanie Merckel is looking into making Pay-Pal available to members for paying membership dues.

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: Reported by John Langdon
John indicated that meetings with legislators were being set up.

Clark Charnetski spoke to the possible need to change the organization of MARP from Regional Chapters to areas of different aspects of rail travel.

Steve Sobel spoke about the Dearborn Station and the possibility of current and future parking problems because of the limited amount that is allocated to station parking that doesn’t meet the current parking needs and the possible additional problem of people using this parking lot to access Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum by way of the new over pass at the station.

Steve also suggested that on the way out of town after lunch people might like to drive by the construction site of the new East Lansing station.

PROGRAM: Bob Johnston, writer for Trains Magazine
Bob delivered a power point informal presentation on several topics giving his views of where passenger travel is going. He talked about:
1. The possibility of the Talgo trains, which Wisconsin canceled the order for after they were built, coming to Michigan. Negotiations are ongoing with MDOT mostly about who would be responsible for maintaining the units and where a maintenance facility would be located. Most likely the units would be used to supplement the Wolverine Service.
2. A possible alternative route for Michigan trains between Porter, IN, and Chicago that would go slightly south of the existing route and come back to the Amtrak Michigan section at Porter. Rail right-of-way still exists but it would have to be completely rebuilt being that it is not currently being used.
3. Amtrak and the State of Indiana are still in negotiations over who will run the Hoosier State trains between Chicago and Indianapolis.
4. The Empire Builder is back on its original route. Bob showed pictures of the right-of-way at Devils Lake from a few years ago with the water lapping at the tracks and what it looks like today now that the tracks have been raised.
5. Amtrak and the State of New Mexico are talking about how Amtrak can service parts of New Mexico now that BNSF plans on abandoning the tracks that the Southwest Chief currently uses across New Mexico. The track is in poor condition and New Mexico, although they want Amtrak service to continue, do not want to have to invest in the necessary track improvements.
6. When asked, Bob did not think Amtrak would alter the route of either the Capitol Limited or Lake Shore to come through Michigan so that a connection to Toledo could be made from Southeast Michigan.

Meeting was adjourned at 12:30pm
Many members made their way to Clara’s Lansing Station to lunch together.

Respectfully submitted by: Accepted by:

_____________________________________ _________________________________________
Don W. Westcott, At-Large Executive Larry Krieg, Chair