Martin Wheeler, Jim Frierson, Gene Kirkland, Bill Cole, David Robinson, Ed Locklin, Leon DeBaer, Bill ---, Kevin Davis, Debra Franklin, Charles Gossett, Bill Easterling, Bob Bischoff, John Bobinyec, Don Yehle, and Phil Astwood
Minutes of the July meeting in Columbia were distributed by e-mail to Board members and printed copies were distributed at the meeting. Due to time limitations, Phil Astwood did not read the minutes at the meeting, but Martin Wheeler reviewed the primary points.
Gene Kirkland distributed copies of the treasurer’s report for the period July 20 to September 20, 2019. A copy of the report is
attached to these minutes.
Update on Resolution Drive in South Carolina in Support of Expanded Rail Passenger Services:
Martin Wheeler summed up the project to date and distributed samples of the materials to the visitors. Leon DeBaer mentioned that Allan Paul had heard about interest in the program and both governors had met in the past to discuss Charlotte to Columbia service. Apparently plans still exist for high (or higher) speed service between Charlotte and Atlanta. Bill Cole said there had been some interest in the proposed station host program in SC.
Harrisburg Amtrak Station:
Martin said that approvals are in place (except from NS) to build a station in Harrisburg. A study over 5 or 6 years selected Harrisburg over several other sites that were considered. Martin read a response from Allan Paul that described several reasons that site was selected. Harrisburg and Cabarrus County supported the station and its location provided good spacing along the line. David Robinson compared the Harrisburg location to Kannapolis pointing out that the location of a station will lead to significant development in each community. NCRR will pay for the project and Harrisburg will repay them. The station should be open in 2 years. Stations in Hillsborough and Lexington have been considered for a long time, but there has been no action recently.
Reprinting of the SC Brochures:
Martin has obtained estimates of the cost. Last time it cost $750. Now it would cost $800 to print 300 or $900 to print 500. Gene believes some money may be available for this.
Update on NC On Track:
David Robinson suggested that those unfamiliar with the project have a look at ncontrack.org. Significant right now is the NC State Rail Plan which is being updated. David and Martin will each attend an outreach meeting. This will be our first real test to see how effective we can be.
East-West Rail Passenger Service Proposed in VA:
Martin – Is there anything we can learn from the way they have approached this? VA has spent time recently developing their North-South service to Norfolk, Roanoke etc. now they are interested in East-West service. A train called “The Hilltopper” used to run all the way across VA. .
Plan for NS ‘O’ Line from Charlotte to Winston-Salem:
The Panthers' owner has expressed an interest in better Winston-Salem to Charlotte service. Perhaps we could form a coalition of counties to support this route for its commuter possibilities as well as longer range connections. Part of this line is in use, but some is closed off. This line also could be used as part of an Asheville connection.
Mooresville Commuter Line:
Martin – We are making no progress trying to establish a Mooresville to Charlotte line, but there is one state legislator who would like to find the money to buy out CSX’s ownership of a secondary line from Mt. Holly to Charlotte. This could make connection with the proposed ‘Silver Line’.
Update on CAPT Newsletter and Website Issues:
Should some of the information from the NCOT website go on the CAPT website? John Bobinyec says it can be done. Charles Gossett pointed out that focused e-mail “blasts” can get information out faster than print and are the preferred source of news for younger folks who are apt to be the primary customers for transit.
Update on News in NC and SC Affecting Transit and Passenger Rail:
Gene Kirkland – There have been some changes in the “new” dining plans for eastern trains. They will not use “box” lunches and coach passengers will be permitted to buy meals.
Don Yehle - Meeting attendance in Sacramento is predicted to be low. RPA members need to become more active. More of us should become involved in the visits to the ‘Hill’.
Leon DeBaer - College campuses are the place to find those interested in doing something about mass transit.
Tour This Morning :
The tracks to enter the station are being built. There is about a year to go on this part of the project. Work on the station building will begin in a year or two after that, and will require about 4 years to complete. They are currently trying to select private/public partnerships. The project will begin with a platform and one track. There will eventually be two tracks. The maintenance center is finished, but NS has not yet permitted track access.
Planning for Future Meetings: Landrum - November 16