Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers
Minutes of Annual membership meeting
Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007, Union Station, Durand
Attendees who signed in: Executive Committee – Michael Whims, Michael Frezell, Jim Wallington, Clark Charnetski, John DeLora, Dave Randall, Dick Pekarek, Kay Chase, J.R Valderas and Kaz Fujita.
Members – Don Monteith, Barry Adams, Alan Gebauer, JP DesCamps, Rich Vavra-Musser, Tim Hoeffner, Barry Boyce, Des Collins, Richard Fry, Rochelle Colven,, Frank Harvath, Steve Sobel, Mark Buckley, Dwight Phillips, Phil Chamberlain, Jim Hinkins, Rod Reaner, Norma Ward, Bonnie Switzer, Keith Martin, Larry Sobczak.
Also – Katie Davies, Candace Collins, Deborah Canute, James Clyueh, Hoon-Yung Hopgood and Bob Tischbein.
Call to order. Chairman Whims welcomed attendees to the 34th annual meeting of MARP and Norma Ward, MARP member and a member of host Union Station, welcomed the group and praised the cooperation between the two groups.
Featured speaker – Whims welcomed and introduced State Rep, Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor/Romulus, representing the 22nd District. He is chair of the House Transportation Committee. In brief, Hopgood:
— Described the status of state transportation funding, the discussion of increasing taxes and the overall politics of writing a state budget.
— Said he was committed to the state’s transportation infrastructure, but that it was under the pressure of declining revenues and increased costs. Less revenue was the result of consumers using less gasoline as cost of fuel increases. Because gasoline taxes are the major source of transportation budget, another dedicated source of funding is needed.
Brief remarks — Deborah Canute, director of Durand Union Station, Inc., explained her group’s role, goals, financial situation and overall status. She thanked MARP for using the facilities, saying it was appropriate that a railroad passenger group to do so.
At this time, long-time MARP member Alan Gebauer presented the historical station six boxes of MARP archives for the historical collection. Gebauer explained the archives had been stored at his home but were turned over to Durand Union Station so it would be accessible to the public.
Chairman‘s report — Whims reported that membership was now over 300 and MARP sponsored over 15 outreach events. He said MARP had testified before the state legislature and has developed working relationships with other advocacy groups. MARP is also working with regional agencies and the legislative task force on tourism to promote passenger rail. Other positives for the year included the work of the Route Enhancement Committee and the creation of Ride the Train Michigan, a marketing effort by MARP members. He boasted of the expanded circulation and coverage of the newspaper, The Michigan Passenger, and more effective use of the web site, www.marp.org
Lunch — Catered by GiGis Banquets & Catering of Corunna and volunteers at Durand Union Station, with part of the payment benefiting the station’s treasury. Attendees were invited to inspect the rail-related archives stored by DUS.
“Amtrak & Advocacy” – An in-depth look at the struggles and successes of Amtrak and its relationship with advocacy groups such as MARP was presented by Executive Director DeLora. It was the premiere showing of a program produced for general public presentations.
— Election of officers. Since only one person per office was nominated, the following officers were elected per acclimation:
John Delora, Executive Committee Char
Don Monteith, Vice Chair
Hugh Gurney, Secretary
Andrew Kent, Northern Michigan Regional Chair
John Langdon, West Michigan Regional Chair
Jim Wallington, East/Central Michigan Regional Chair
Mike Whims, Metro Detroit Regional Chair
Executive Committee At Large: Clark Charnetski, Kay Chase, Steve Sobel, Rich Vavra-Musser
DeLora announced that he appointed Whims to succeed him as Executive Director and that David Randall would continue his term as Treasurer. Larry Sobczak would continue as webmaster and J.R. Valderas as editor of the newspaper.
MARP Vision — Whims explained the Passenger Rail Vision for 2030, which was adopted by voice vote of the attendees. Envisioned by 2030 is a passenger rail system that
–Connects Canada and the Midwest to Michigan cities and destinations;
–Integrates with other modes of transportation;
–Delivers economic growth to Michigan
–Augments Wolverine service with increased frequency and speed to meet growing demands, and establishment of a Pontiac-Metro Airport-Ann Arbor commuter rail service;
–Increases Pere Marquette and Blue Water service frequency to meet growing needs, promote Michigan tourism and attracts business travelers.
Attendees endorsed an immediate goal of a second Pere Marquette train while an ambitious expansion of service for the entire state was tabled for continued discussion by the Route Enhancement Committee.
It was announced the Oct. 13 general membership meeting in Kalamazoo would begin at 11:00 a.m. to allow members to arrive by Amtrak and give some buffer time in case the trains are tardy.
Minutes prepared by James Wallington, Secretary
Michael Whims, Chairman