Amtrak Meeting Wednesday, June 16, 2010
On behalf of Amtrak, a special train trip for California elected officials and other invited guests was provided by Amtrak President and CEO, Joe Boardman and his board of directors, including Chairman, Thomas Carper, Vice Chair, Donna McClean, Director Nancy Naples and Federal Railroad Administrator, Joe Szabo. Also included in this trip were Mark Yachmetz, Associate Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, and Joe McHugh, Amtrak Vice President Government Affairs along with other Amtrak officials.
I was privileged to travel with this group in Amtrak business cars from Los Angeles Union Station to Emeryville, California. This fourteen hour trip provided opportunities for private meetings with the above mentioned officials including dinner with Joe Boardman.
During our dinner meeting we discussed the daily Sunset Limited, high speed rail, and incrementally improving speed with conventional equipment to destinations such as Las Vegas and the Coachella Valley.
As always Mr. Boardman was very easy to talk with, was very down-to-earth and "says it like it is"!
At this opportune time I reminded Mr. Boardman that we strongly support Amtrak in their negotiations for a daily Sunset Limited with the Union Pacific Railroad.
Representing the Coachella Valley Association of Governments Transportation Committee, my first priority was to stress the need for the daily Sunset Limited, including the regional train from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley.
It was strongly suggested, with a sense of urgency, that we engage our California Congressional delegation, especially Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack asking for support of both the daily Sunset Limited and the regional Coachella train.
It should be noted that it would be very unlikely for a regional Los Angeles to Coachella Valley train to become a reality, if we cannot achieve daily service for the Sunset Limited.
I would like to add that this was a very significant meeting, being allowed to make a strong case before a group of major decision makers in such a captive but, very pleasant and enjoyable venue.
Robert Manning, President,
Southwest Rail Passenger Association