2017 Annual Member Meeting

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Fall 2017 Annual Membership Meeting – You are Invited!  

www.allaboardmn.org

The fall “all-member” meeting of All Aboard Minnesota will be held
on Saturday, November 18, 2017.  YOU are invited!

Find out about all the exciting initiatives happening around passenger rail in Minnesota! We need you to make it all happen!   See below for details.

The meeting will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located on 8600 Freemont Ave, South in Bloomington,  MN. Go in the main entrance on the south side of the church, walk straight back and down the hall on the left to the lounge.  There will be signs to direct you.

For directions to the church, please click on this link:  http://www.ctkb.org/contact-us/

Timing:

  • Doors will open at 9:00am Refreshments will be provided.
  • The meeting will begin at 9:30am
  • Will conclude at 12:00noon.  A light lunch will be provided.

We have an exciting agenda planned including: 

  • Outreach plans for 2018 – we are going to get legislators phones to ring, learn how!
  • Speakers:

    • ​Dan Krom – Director MnDot State Rail passenger office – Update 
    • Alice Hausman – MN House Rep and DFL lead for the Transportation Finance Committee – update on funding for passenger rail and the 2018 legislative outlook
    • Anne Buckvold – community organizer in the St. Cloud area – what works for our cause
  • Working committees – we need your help – learn how you can get involved according to your interest!  

We will break into the following committees to organize and move our cause forward
(
there will be opportunities to participate in numerous areas for those who might be interested).  A board member will describe what we need for each committee and ask for your input as we move these committees into 2018:    

  • Membership  
  • Legislative
  • Communications
  • Outreach 

Members are asked to RSVP in advance Reservations will be accepted up until
Thursday November 16.  Please rsvp your reservation to AAMN at:

Email;  allaboardminnesota@gmail.com;

Or, please call 612-781-2894 and leave a message 

We are excited to see you.  Together, we can expand passenger rail for Minnesota and the upper mid-west!

Member Meeting 4/29/17

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Spring 2017 Annual Membership Meeting – You are Invited!  

www.allaboardmn.org

The spring “all-member” meeting of All Aboard Minnesota will be held
on Saturday, April 29, and… YOU are invited!

We are fighting to save passenger rail in Minnesota! We need you!   See below for details.

The meeting will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located on 8600 Freemont Ave, South in Bloomington,  MN.

  • Doors will open at 9:00am 
  • The meeting will begin at 9:30am
  • Will conclude at 12:00noon.  Go in the main entrance on the south side of the church, walk straight back and down the hall on the left to the lounge.  There will be signs to direct you.

Refreshments will be provided in the morning, and at 12:00noon, we will provide a light lunch.  For directions, please click on this
link:  http://www.ctkb.org/contact-us/

We have an exciting agenda planned including:  

  • The All Aboard Minnesota board has been busy on the state and federal level legislative front-we will give an update on what we know, what we have done, and what actions we plan to take 
    • ​We will share an interesting survey results about passenger rail in Minnesota  
  • Working committees – we need your help – All Aboard Minnesota is forming member committees, learn how you can get involved according to your interest!  

We will break into the following committees to organize and move our cause forward
(
there will be opportunities to participate in numerous areas for those who might be interested).  A board member will describe what we need for each committee and ask for your input as we form these:     

  • Membership  
  • Legislative
  • Communications
  • Outreach

Next Steps, Questions and Answers

Members are asked to RSVP in advance Reservations will be accepted up until
Thursday April 27.  Please rsvp your reservation to AAMN at:

Email;  allaboardminnesota@gmail.com;

Or please call 612-781-2894 and leave a message 

We are excited to see you.  Together, we can save passenger rail for Minnesota and the upper midwest!

Contact Your Legislator About Funding Cuts

Dear Members and Friends,

It has been a busy week in Washington DC and in the Minnesota Legislature.  In case you missed it, President Trump’s budget proposal eliminates all funding for AMTRAK long distance trains, and cost sharing for new State supported intercity trains.  And, despite the urging of our members and others around the State, the Legislature did not include funding for new State supported interstate passenger trains in the Omnibus Budget.  That’s the bad news…

The worst case scenario? If these budgets are approved without modification, Minnesota will lose all intercity passenger trains! The Empire Builder will cease to exist, and development of new State supported trains will be stopped.

The good news is that it is not too late to act…here’s how:

Contact your US Senators and your district congressperson and urge them to reinstate funding for AMTRAK long distance trains and State funded intercity trains in the Congressional Transportation budget.  Find their contact information here

Contact Governor Dayton and urge him to maintain funding for the MNdot Passenger Rail Office.  This office coordinates the planning for new intercity trains like the Northern Lights express to Duluth, and Twin Cities Hiawatha to Chicago.  Also, request that he provides additional funds for development of intercity trains in his budget proposal. Telephone his office at: 651-201-3400.

A lesson learned from our previous legislative contacts:  Many of the legislators confuse intercity rail with urban Transit…LRT etc.  Make clear that you are supporting AMTRAK, Empire Builder and intercity trains.

If the Empire Builder is discontinued, the Twin Cities and the following Greater Minnesota cities will lose their intercity train service: La Crescent (La Crosse), Winona, Redwing, St Cloud, Staples/Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Moorhead (Fargo) and East Grand Forks (Grand Forks).  The discontinuation of the Northern Lights Express project would also affect Cambridge, Hinkley, and Duluth/Superior.

WE CAN’T LET CITIES LIKE THESE LOSE THEIR TRAIN SERVICE.  PLEASE CALL TODAY!

If you know people from these locations or elsewhere who would be willing to help, please forward this note to them.

AAMN Response to Empire Builder Article by Star Tribune

To our members;

On Dec 24 the StarTribune ran an article on the Empire Builder.  We felt it was good coverage, but felt it needed some further context. Our response to the article is below.   Please forward this response to your elected officials or otherwise get the word out about our cause.  Thank you and Happy New Year!

All Aboard Minnesota Board.

 

 

Dear Mr. Peterson:

 

Your article about Amtrak’s Empire Builder correctly stated that ridership has definitely increased, and the benefits it provides over driving and flying.  Your article also mentions more frequencies for Amtrak service.  All Aboard Minnesota, a non-profit group whose mission is to advocate and educate for more rail passenger service for the state of Minnesota, is strongly in support of a second train frequency from the Twin Cities to Chicago.  Studies have shown that more than 200 riders would use the service each way, every day, and this service would attract new ridership.1

 

We are also strongly in support of a stop for passenger trains in Minneapolis, in addition to St. Paul Union Depot (SPUD).  While we applaud the renovation of SPUD, we believe a stop is necessary in Minneapolis/Hennepin County as the almost two thirds of the Twin Cities population reside there, and SPUD may be geographically undesirable for many.  While we believe it could be higher, MnDot estimates that perhaps an additional 20,000 riders would use current Amtrak service if a Minneapolis stop were made available.2   

 

Your article mentions “dips” in Amtrak’s ridership.  Actually, Amtrak’s overall ridership has actually increased now for at least five consecutive years.  Amtrak carried a record 31.3 million passengers in 2016, 400,000 more than last year, and the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.3

 

Amtrak’s long distance services currently comprise 15 different routes, and for Amtrak’s Fiscal Year 2016 seven of these routes have seen increases in ridership over 2015, the Empire Builder being one of them.  As a group, the long-distance trains carried 3.2 percent more passengers in 2016 versus 2015.4 This is in spite of, as you pointed out, record low gas prices and additional competition.

 

The Minnesota legislature needs to adequately fund more rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation network.  This would connect the Twin Cities to rural parts of the state, and would provide true options for the elderly, college students and others who often cannot drive or fly.

 

We can no longer solely rely on highway funding to meet all of our transportation needs. Rail passenger services requires less cost to add service versus new highways or airways, is environmentally friendlier, and offers comfort and safety that is superior compared to driving and buses.  For more information about All Aboard Minnesota, please visit our website:  www.allaboardmn.org;  Thank you for your article and consideration of this response.

 

Best Regards,

 

Brian W. Nelson-President

All Aboard Minnesota

 

Sources:

  1. MnDot State Rail Passenger office study
  2. MnDot
  3. Amtrak
  4. Amtrak

Fall Membership Meeting: Highlights and Video

All Aboard Minnesota’s 2016 fall membership meeting was held on Saturday, November 12… five days after the national election.  This was our third such meeting, and we had record turnout and a packed agenda!

View Meeting:

Here is a summary of the meeting:

  • Board members introduced themselves and gave a brief recap of 2016 activities and achievements.
  • Bob Moen gave a brief powerpoint presentation showing what he found on a recent scouting trip down UP’s “Spine Line” toward Kansas City.  This route has been identified in the State Rail Plan as a “Tier Two” choice for eventual intercity passenger service.  Bob reported on improved track conditions, existing station/platform infrastructure, and overall desirability of the route, which would serve important communities such as Northfield, Faribault, Owatonna, Mason City, and Des Moines.
  • House Representative Alice Hausman (Chair of the Transportation Policy and Finance committee) spoke on the outlook for progress given the new makeup of the House and Senate and how we can impact outcomes.
  • MnDOT Office of Passenger Rail – Dan Krom and Frank Loetterle—provided an in-depth look at their ongoing efforts to bring new service from the Twin Cities to Chicago and Duluth (NLX), and their legislative “ask” for funding and planning for 2017.
  • NARP Vice-Chair John DeLora, who launched and headed the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers some 37 years ago!  John had many good suggestions on how to successfully grow a nonprofit organization; and to accomplish our grass-roots communication and education objectives.
  • Finally, the Board recognized several members for their important contributions in 2016.  Lunch and socialization rounded out this successful get- together.  Thanks to all who attended!

Fall 2016 Annual Membership Meeting – You are Invited!

Fall 2016 Annual Membership Meeting – You are Invited!  

The fall “all-member” meeting of All Aboard Minnesota will be held
on Saturday, November 12, and… YOU are invited!

We are extremely pleased to announce three very informative speakers for our meeting!  See below for details.

The meeting will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located on 8600 Freemont Ave, South in Bloomington,  MN.  Doors will be open at 9:00am- the meeting will begin at 9:30am will conclude at 12:00noon.  Go in the main entrance on the south side of the church, walk straight back and down the hall on the left to the lounge.  There will be signs to direct you.

Refreshments will be provided in the morning, and at 12:00noon, we will provide a light lunch.  For directions, please click on this
link:  http://www.ctkb.org/contact-us/

This meeting is free and open to all members! 

We have an exciting agenda planned including:  

What has All Aboard Minnesota been doing?  What are the plans going forward?
Speaker Alice Hausman – Minnesota State Rep will give her thoughts on passenger rail for the state of Minnesota and the upcoming legislative session for transportation
Speaker John Delora – Vice Chair – National Association of Railroad Passengers -and Founder-Michigan Association of Railroad passengers-  advocacy lessons learned in Michigan
Speaker Dan Krom – Director – MnDot Passenger Rail Office – will give an update on key Minnesota state passenger rail initiatives
Recognizing our members – for all the great work you have done!
Member input – we want to hear your ideas!
Questions and Answers

Members are asked to RSVP in advance Reservations will be accepted up until
Monday November 7.  Please rsvp your reservation to AAMN at:

Email;  allaboardminnesota@gmail.com;

Or please call 612-781-2894 and leave a message 

This will be a great opportunity for all of us to meet, greet, and get to know each
other.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Legislators need to fund transportation – giving Minnesotans true transportation mobility

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
allaboardminnesota@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Legislators need to fund transportation – giving Minnesotans true transportation mobility

St. Paul, Minnesota (September 22, 2016 ) – All Aboard Minnesota was disappointed that a special session was not held to adequately fund transportation for Minnesotans.  As state legislators reconvene in 2017 for a new session, we urge legislators to deliver a 2017 Transportation package that includes the $21 million needed by MnDot to fund rail passenger development on existing rail corridors designated in the State Rail Plan.  The $21 million as proposed by bills HF 2791/SF2257 provides funding to expand intercity rail passenger service (Amtrak) on four key corridors within and connecting the state of Minnesota to the upper Midwest.  These four main corridors are:

  1. Additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago
  2. Twin Cities to Duluth
  3. Twin Cities to Des Moines and Kansas City
  4. Additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Fargo/Moorhead

Passenger rail provides convenience and true mobility options to small communities in rural areas where airline and bus service is expensive, or lacking.  It also provides travel options for college students, the disabled, and the elderly that have difficulty driving or flying. It provides all weather travel safety and reliability that other modes of transportation can’t match.

More passenger rail frequencies between the Twin Cities-Chicago, Duluth and Kansas City make sense.  For the additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago alone, Amtrak and MnDOT recently released studies that found this service would be very popular.  The preliminary study estimates that over 200 additional riders would be drawn to the service each way daily, giving people a lower-cost alternative to flying.

Additional frequencies and new service would create substantial new economic growth and increased tourism all along these four routes that could offset modest annual operating costs.  It is estimated that for every dollar invested in passenger rail service, local communities benefit by up to four dollars that is brought by tourism, and additional services purchased.

“Amtrak has realized record passenger growth during the past three years, hauling over 30 million passengers each year.  People from all generations all over the country are voting with their ridership that they want more passenger train service,” said Brian Nelson, President of All Aboard Minnesota, a citizen advocacy group promoting increased train travel options in Minnesota.

“The state of Minnesota is underserved by Amtrak,” he said, “with one single train, that operates through the state in the middle of the night west of the Twin Cities and only provides one daytime frequency to Chicago.  Other states have invested in more and better train service: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, California and others. They have all seen tremendous ridership growth.  Illinois doubled its train frequency and saw the trains fill up in a matter of weeks! Illinois now fills 5 trains a day from Chicago-St. Louis. It only makes sense that fast, comfortable, modern trains should be a part of a truly balanced transportation system that provides Minnesotans with mobility options,” he added.

Additionally, there is the issue of energy efficiency and environmental impact.  Trains are 30% more energy-efficient than cars, 20% more efficient than airplanes, resulting in less air pollution, less highway congestion, and less reliance on expensive regional air services.

Nelson also urged Minnesotans who would benefit from additional rail passenger services to get in touch with their state and federal legislators.  “Legislators need to know their constituents are in support of expanded, better, and more convenient train service,” Nelson said, “and the upcoming session in 2017 is a good time to do it… while legislators are considering transportation issues.  From the evidence we see, Minnesota could add significant new train services for one tenth of the cost of new roads in many cases… not only would it benefit the entire state economy, it would also benefit citizens from all over the state!”

About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system.  We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

2016 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

 

Spring 2016 Membership Meeting – Saturday, May 21

AAMN-Logo.jpg

Spring 2016 Membership Meeting – You are Invited!  

www.allaboardmn.org

Spring membership meeting of All Aboard Minnesota will be held
on Saturday, May 21, and… YOU are invited!

The meeting will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located on 8600 Freemont Ave, South in Bloomington,  MN.  Doors will be open at 10:00am.  The meeting will begin at 10:30 am and will conclude at 12:00noon.  Light refreshments will be provided in the morning.

For directions, please click on this
link:  http://www.ctkb.org/contact-us/

This meeting is free and open to all members! 

We have an exciting agenda planned: 

Update on our meetings and our learnings from the 2016 MN legislative session
What is happening with rail passenger legislation
Update on the MnDot State Rail Passenger office
Meetings we’ve had around the region with Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers, Prorail, and others
How you can help our cause

There is no need to RSVP, but if you have questions in the meantime please contact us at:
allaboardminnesota@gmail.com;

We look forward to seeing you there!