Minutes – October 10, 2009 – Ann Arbor





October 10, 2009

Those Signing In: Hugh Gurney, Steve T. Sobel, Dave Randall, Jim Hinkins, Clark Charnetski, Robert  Patterson, Dianne Patterson, Radley Smith, Jim Roach, Jerry Becker, J. Michael Lynch, Michael Benham, the speaker.

Call to Order: Secretary Hugh Gurney called the meeting to order at 10:03 a.m.

Guest Speaker:  Michael Benham presented the Wally Update. He used a map of the route to describe the route from Howell to North Ann Arbor. He said there will be four rush hour trains each way. Twenty four cars, eight cab cars and sixteen trailers will be rehabbed by GLC under contract by December 2011. These cars will also be used on the Ann Arbor to Detroit East West route. The connection between the Ann Arbor RR and the NS will be rehabbed to allow the sharing of the fleet. The East West line will get the cars first in October/November 2010 to start up. The Wally will come later in November 2011 using three car trains. A five track yard north of Howell will be constructed. The location of the Ann Arbor Station site has some problems that will need to be corrected to allow for 500 foot platforms, lighting, and shelters. Self service ticketing on the honor system will be adopted. Mr. Benham stressed that the route can support 60 mph speeds with its 32 grade crossings. The presentation was followed by Q & A from the members present.

The meeting recessed to Casey’s Tavern for lunch at 11:12 a.m.  The meeting reconvened at 12:42 p.m. at the Amtrak Station with 9 members present. 

To fill the Vice Chair vacancy, it was moved by Sobel with a second by Patterson to draft a letter to be considered at the November meeting. This action was tabled for the next meeting.

The Treasurer, Dave Randall gave the September 30th report. MSC to accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.

The question was raised as to what are MARP’s responsibilities regarding the NARP Convention in Grand Rapids next fall.

MSC to Approve the Minutes of August 22, 2009 and September 12, 2009.

Metro Regional Chair Report  Jim Hinkins reported that he has not been able to contact the “Interstate Traveler” people. Clark Charnetski spoke about the Mega Lev system report from Representative Rodgers’ office. The MI Central station was discussed as to possible uses, Train Station and Hotel. Shuttle service from that location to Cobo Hall.

Public Affairs It was reported by the Chair that the State Budget included only 5.6 million dollars for 10 months of Amtrak service through June 2010. Then the State will have to find money for the rest of the fiscal year.

Outreach  The Chair  discussed upcoming events and passed around a sign up schedule.  The Blue Water 35th Anniversary train will operate October 21, 2009.  The event was discussed.

Other New Business  Clark Charnetski reported that Ann Arbor has selected a new location for its Amtrak Station. It will be about 500 feet east of the present location near the U of M Medical Center, to increase ridership. Also a proposed light rail line running from US 23 and Plymouth Road to the Main Campus could pass through this location as well as a parking structure could be built straddling the tracks near where the existing parking lot is. 

It was suggested that future meetings in 2010 be held where things are going on and also other places where MARP has not met in some time.

Future Meetings   January 9, 2010 will be in Lansing.

Station staff reported that at Ann Arbor on Friday nights Mega Bus at $30 for Chicago was loading 3 Coaches. Amtrak tickets on 355 were on offer at $70.

A member also suggested that MARP renew its regular contacts with Amtrak management for communication on items brought to our attention.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:                                              Accepted:

Dave Randall                                                              Hugh D. Gurney

Recording Secretary                                                   Acting Chair