San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee meeting report

Reported by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director, with Bill Kerby, RailPAC Treasurer and Art Lloyd, RailPAC VP North

The San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee meeting was held Thursday March 8, 2007 in Fresno. Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea welcomed members of the committee and audience.

The main issue of this meeting was the Committee vote to make Mariposa County a Voting member of the Committee. Due to the large number of speakers, including supervisors, from this county, and the time encroachment on the agenda, these writers were unable to stay for the entire meeting due to train time.

However, the speakers we heard made a good case for Mariposa County to be on the Rail Committee e.g. being the gateway to Yosemite National Park. Representatives from Fresno, Madera, and Stanislaus counties gave early support for the addition of Mariposa County on the SJVRC.

Lee Goldenberg (Caltrans DoR) reported on his research of the bylaws and (reluctantly) recommended against the county, as voting members must be on the rail line according to the bylaws. After lengthy discussion by the Committee. it was moved, seconded and approved for a Mariposa County voting membership pending amending of the bylaws. The issue will be resolved at the next meeting.

Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall was unanimously re-elected for another term as Chair, as was Merced County Supervisor John Pedrozo as Vice Chair.

Ty Holscher (Tulare County) reported on a meeting with the Union Pacific in Omaha regarding using UP trackage for passenger service on the lower west side of the Valley up to Fresno. This added service has been under consideration for a year or so. The UP could just not see it now because of their capacity problems.

A new SJVRC meeting schedule was approved:

May 10……….Oakland Maint. Facility
Cafe Car Mockup tour
June 28……….Martinez
Oct 11……….Merced
Jan 10……….Bakersfield
Mar 13……….Fresno
June 12………TBD
Oct 9………TBD

Michael Barnbaum (RailPAC) made the announcement and extended invitations to all to the RailPAC/NARP joint conference in Los Angeles (MTA Bldg) March 17.

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