Hans Zeiger (R-Puyallup), and Johan Hellman – BNSF to Speak at our March 8th meeting!

AAWA’s March 8 meeting with be at the now-familiar Basil’s Kitchen Restaurant, Embassy Suites Hotel, Tukwila, an easy walk from the Tukwila Sounder /Amtrak station stop. Lunch at noon. Meeting at 1 PM.

Featured presentations will be by Rep Hans Zeiger (R-Puyallup) and Mr. Johan Hellman .  Rep Zeiger is an active member of the House Transportation Committee who attended our AAWA-Legislative Rail Caucus lunch on February 6. Mr. Hellman is Executive Director, State Government Affairs, BNSF Railway. The format will be the “open discussion” type, with interaction between AAWA members and our two guests. We are certain we’ll  have lively discussions at this March meeting, including, but not limited to: State transportation budget and rail funding; oil and coal trains and mudslides!

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AAWA at Transportation Advocacy Day, Feb 27th

All Aboard Washington is again participating in Transportation Advocacy Day, this year on Thursday, February 27, and again headquartered at the United Churches, just NE across Capitol Way from the Capitol grounds. Although the issues the TAD organizers feature do not directly address intercity rail per se, those issues. which deal with transit, bike, and pedestrian transportation, are also favored by many AAWA members.

Again, Lloyd Flem, AAWA’s Executive Director, has been asked to do a ‘Breakout Session’ on passenger rail.  Lloyd will also attempt to get appointments with your legislators or their staffs.  A written set of ‘talking points’ will be prepared for your reference, but as always, you are free to discuss rail issues based on your specific situation and views.

Thurston county members of AAWA will again provide car shuttles to/from Centennial Station and the United Churches/Capitol. Please inform ASAP if you plan on attending TAD and f you’ll be travel to Olympia by train. Recommend:  From the north, Amtrak 501 to Olympia-Lacey; from the south, Amtrak 500.  Back to the north* from Olympia-Lacey, Amtrak 516; to the south, Amtrak 509.

Thanks, and hopefully we’ll have a respectable attendance at TAD.

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Tacoma Freighthouse Square Station Concepts

On Feb 19th, WSDOT held an open house with 14 different conceptual designs for a proposed Amtrak station at Freight house Square as part of the Pt. Defiance Bypass project (replacing the existing Amtrak station) . While somewhat detailed designs they had not made it past the concept stage yet and into any kind of engineering. Some interesting tidbits included that if the east end were chosen, the floor would have to be lowered by several feet to meet up with track level (And judging by some of the proposed designs, it may be easier to demolish and rebuild than try and make that kind of a change to the structure.). The next steps were to narrow these 14 designs down, and do some preliminary engineering and structural assessment of the building to actually see how it would function.

Some observations, even though no dimensions were posted, the waiting rooms seemed to be small. For a building with a life of 20-50 years (20 years min. per the grant requirements) it would seem important to be building for additional train capacity beyond the few additional trips already programmed. Also, The non east-end options all had no reference to any curb drop-off and bus loading areas, while the east end options had designs under the building at street level. There was also no mention of long-term parking, although in a previous meeting Amtrak and WSDOT were considering Tacoma an “urban” station which does not “need” long term parking.

Pictures of the concepts are below the jump.
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Why has high-speed rail moved so slowly in the US?

You are invited to join us on April 5 to investigate …

Why has high-speed rail moved so slowly in the US?

Luncheon presentation by Dr. Anthony Perl

Saturday, April 5, 2014 (11:00 am – 4:30 pm)

Embassy Suites (historic Multnomah Hotel)
319 SW Pine Street
Portland, Oregon 97204
convenient to light rail

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January Meeting Date Change

Our January business meeting in Tukwila has been rescheduled for Saturday January 18th from Noon to 4, at the same place (restaurant inside the Tukwila Embassy Suites). This change has been made primarily for those who are interested in watching the Seahawks beat the Saints in the playoff game that afternoon. If you have made reservations on Amtrak please contact them to change your itinerary. Our guest speaker will be Rep. Steve Bergquist who is on the House Transportation Committee.

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Tax parity for Transit riders!

Fellow Rail Advocates,

While this Action Alert would rarely deal directly with  intercity passenger train service, it is a request to have you inform Congress that tax incentives for transit, urban rail, and vanpools should NOT be cut essentially in half while those for driving alone to work are actually modestly increased. Again, the Feds would be  essentially “paying people to drive alone” and we should attempt to help to ensure parity –reasonable equality by mode for commuting to work deductions.

NARP Hotline # 842 December 20, 2013 – second  item – briefly summarizes the issue. In addition, a reference within this second item is to an Action Alert from the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) which includes details concerning this issue, plus a suggested draft letter to members of Congress. (While the content of the suggested draft is excellent, your own situation, experience and feelings about financial parity among transportation modes is strongly advised.)

It took years of hard work by balanced transportation advocates to get a level playing field  between drive-alone commuters and those using other means of getting to work. Now drivers will again be favored, unless parity (Up to $245/month deduction for transit as well as for driving to work.)

Even those, who by circumstance or choice, drive to work should favor tax-incentive modal parity as it helps “get other people off the road.”

Please phone or email your US House member and your US Senators. Most would be in favor, but they are confronted by dozen of issues, dozens of requests. They may need gentle reminders about this “little” issue that can have considerable significance in terms of transportation decisions and transportation patterns, particularly in urban areas.

It will take but a few minutes.  I’m writing to my House member, Denny Heck, today.

Please contact me if needed and please address this issue.


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    All Aboard Washington is a 501c3 consumer transportation advocacy group, comprised of nearly 500 people who have a goal of preserving and expanding passenger rail service in the state of Washington. We have been around for 30 years and work closely with other local and national groups, along with political leaders, industry leaders, and other sponsors to improve passenger rail service in our state. We need your help to keep Washington on the right track. Please Donate Today!

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