Yesterday (December 30, 2017) several hundred of Jim’s family and friends gathered at All Saints Church in Puyallup, WA, to remember and honor him. He was remembered for his tireless work for his church, his community, and for passenger rail.
Jim Mathews of the Rail Passengers Association announced that RPA will create a fellowship in his honor for students pursuing graduate degrees in transportation. All Aboard Washington will be meeting on January 20, 2018, to discuss how we can continue his work.
My hope is that we can pursue these goals:
- Advocate for an appropriate memorial for Jim and Zack. I like Hendrik’s idea of naming the new Tacoma station after them, with an appropriate permanent plaque or other memorial.
- Make sure that the governor, WSDOT, Amtrak and BNSF follow through on their promises to implement PTC as soon as possible. Despite its limitations, it’s the best tool we have to make sure such a tragedy never recurs.
- Push for funding to allow WSDOT to purchase the Wisconsin Talgos, and get them in service ASAP to replace the equipment now out of service.
- Press the governor and the legislature to conduct the “official” studies of Stampede Pass service that we were told in Pasco would need to be the next steps.
- Press the governor and the legislature to give WSDOT the mandate to proceed with the Blaine station stop.
- Strengthen our fragile passenger rail network. Cascades service could only be re-started because the Point Defiance route was available as a backup. No such option would exist in Seattle and elsewhere.
Let’s do everything in our power to build a safer, more robust, and more sustainable system. Zack and Jim would, I believe, want us to do this.