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All Aboard Washington

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Job Training, Microfinance, Public Transportation Systems, Rural Economic Development, Urban & Community Economic Development

Mission: All Aboard Washington is a consumer oriented, rail advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the improvement of rail transportation services in the Pacific Northwest. We are comprised of citizens, businesses and other public interest groups from Washington State, as well as from neighboring states and provinces. Working together for improved rail transportation services in the Pacific Northwest, we work in concert with similar rail passenger groups in Oregon, California, and British Columbia. We also maintain a cooperative relationship with the National Association of Rail Passengers, based in Washington DC.

Programs: (1) Educating the General Public. Our Government & Corporate Affairs Director and other key members make presentations on the current availability of rail passenger services in the state and western US and Canada. Schedules, destinations, "how to ride", and costs are emphasized. A second presentation theme concerns the general public's urging elected officials and other influential people to work for and invest in more and better rail service. These presentations vary from formal programs at senior centers, service clubs, political and community social organizations, to setting up informational tables at community celebrations, fairs, and rail stations, to working with passengers onboard existing trains, to media presentations. A large majority of the public "likes trains" or has an interest in transportation other than by auto or air, but most of the populace under age 60, especially in the West, has little passenger rail knowledge or experience. (2) Educating Elected Officials and Decision Makers. We seek to inform officials and other influential people of the need for investment in rail, both passenger and freight. This is accomplished through one-on-one meetings and correspondence with members of Congress, state legislators, city and county officials, by legislative committee testimony and participation on boards, task forces, seminars and conferences. Like much of the general public, most elected officials have little understanding of the current roles played by rail, nor of rail's potential, costs and benefits. This work entails a long, slow process, utilizing a maximum of tact and patience. (3) Fostering Alliances. In order to accomplish the above, we work to ally with varied groups who share an interest in transportation that could include rail. These groups may vary from environmental organizations whose interests are in fuel efficiency, clean air and limits on the costs of urban sprawl, to economic development interests and rail freight user groups who see rail as a cost-effective means of moving goods and attracting and holding jobs. We particularly seek to tie those who should be joining together, such as rail labor and management, private and public providers of high-capacity transportation and those favoring any and all transportation investments. (4) Rail Passenger Ombudsman. W directly bring the concerns of rail passengers to the attention of rail service providers and regulators, including, but not necessarily limited to, officials of Amtrak, Sound Transit, WSDOT, BNSF Railway, short lines, private rail excursion providers, travel agencies, and state and federal rail regulators. The ombudsman role deals with existing service on existing trains, with emphasis on maintaining quality service and good travel experiences. Our long-established reputation as a responsible and moderate advocacy organization gives us an effective voice for the rail customer. (5) Tracking the Future. A developing part of our program is bringing forth new ideas on future rail development and service. We were the primary advocates for the passage of legislation that studied the potential development of a new north-south rail corridor located east of the existing mainlines. We are currently pursuing the support for a project which would greatly enhance movement of rail freight from Washington ports east across the Cascade Range and is supporting the institution of rail service from Central Washington to the Puget Sound cities.

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