Tukwila, WA, photo by C. Hamilton
Tukwila, WA, photo by C. Hamilton

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Download the AANW Summit 2024.6 Sponsorship Request

Spreading the Word on Opportunities for Improved Transportation

All Aboard Northwest (AANW) is working to spread the word that a robust, seamless transportation system will bring significant economic, environmental and equity benefits to communities of all sizes. In 2021, several Senators from the region requested that a Greater Northwest working group be created. AANW is the regional rail advocacy organization that was created as an outgrowth of the informal working group.

AANW's vision is for seamless multimodal transportation connectivity for the Greater Northwest. Improved door-to-door connectivity between sidewalks, local public transit, and intercity rail provides economic, environmental, and equity benefits to all, including low-income, tribal, disability, and rural communities; locations where transportation alternatives are limited; and the nearly 30 percent of the population that does not drive.

Therefore, AANW focuses on engaging, educating, and energizing the public, elected officials, the press, business and local leaders through a wide variety of outreach and engagement activities, including the 2024 Greater Northwest Rail Summit. We invite you to sponsor these efforts.

Greater Northwest Rail Summit

The Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit brings rail stakeholders together with local, state and federal elected officials and policymakers, host railroads and rail infrastructure experts to educate, innovate and coordinate for the restoration, expansion and enhancement of passenger and freight rail service across the Greater Northwest.

The passage in late 2021 of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has created the best opportunity in decades to expand and improve passenger rail access, and no region of the country is in more need of that expansion and improvement than the Greater Northwest. Now is the time for rail advocates and policymakers from across the region to start coordinating to ensure the “second rail revolution” doesn’t pass us by.

The 2024 Greater Northwest Rail Summit will be held October 8-9, 2024 in Spokane, WA.


2023 Winter Passenger Rail Gathering: Why High-Tech Driving Doesn't Solve Traffic, and Why a Robust Rail Network is a Better Alternative

The 2023 Winter Passenger Rail Gathering was held in Centralia, WA, on December 9, 2023. The discussion focused on why improvements to automobile technology can’t solve the fundamental underlying problems of a highly car-dependent society and how Virginia has discovered rail’s ability to increase transportation capacity at a fraction of the cost of continued roadbuilding.

Keynote Speakers:

2023 Summit

The 2nd Annual Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit took place in Boise, ID on July 19th and 20th, 2023. We brought together passenger rail experts and advocates to continue working toward restoring a true national network for passenger rail that includes service to the largely underserved Greater Northwest.

The 2023 Summit agenda included keynote speakers Stephen Gardner, Amtrak, Chief Executive Officer, and John Robert Smith, Transportation for America, Chairman. Other participants included:

2022 Summit

AANW had significant participation in planning and execution of the 2022 Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit in Billings, MT. We conducted several presentations, including “Returning Passenger Trains to a Station Near You: Why and How,” “Passenger Rail/Freight Rail Synchronicity,” and “Environmental Benefits.”

We were also members of the planning committee; created, managed and hosted the Summit website; and managed online registration.

2021 Summit

As the centerpiece of the 2021 Train Treks, Dan Bilka, Patrick Carnahan, and Charlie Hamilton participated in the 30th Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Summit in Big Sky, Montana.

Charlie moderated PNWER’s first-ever Rail Forum; Patrick gave two presentations during the Forum alongside colleagues Dan Bilka, Elaine Clegg, David Strohmaier, Anna Zivarts, and Abe Zumwalt; and AAWA Government Affairs Director Luis Moscoso led a closing discussion with state representative Andrew Barkis of Washington and state senator Chris Gorsek of Oregon.

Sponsorship Opportunities


We generate publicity locally, regionally, and nationally for our cause and our partners. We publish a blog and post frequently on social media. We regularly receive press mentions for our activities:

Central to our social media strategy is the Mastodon server we operate called Rail.chat. This has been very successful in bringing together a community of like-minded folks to share ideas and plans throughout the region and beyond.

AANW’s Leadership

Daniel Bilka — AANW President, Design & Local Engagement

Dan is a board member with the Rail Passengers Association. He holds his master’s in architecture from South Dakota State University and is working on architectural licensure. Dan was in the pilot class of the Department of Architecture, gaining first-hand experience in establishing new programs, what is required to succeed, and how to react as directives suddenly change. He has been involved with rail advocacy and public discourse since 2013. He has been involved in multi-million dollar projects from schematic design through construction administration and close-out.

Patrick Carnahan — AANW Secretary, Writing & Policy Development

Patrick is co-Executive Director of AAWA and a Transportation Safety & Security Specialist with Sound Transit. He is an experienced nonprofit administrator and writer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. Patrick has a strong background in advocacy for economically and environmentally sustainable transportation solutions with a focus on passenger rail. He has spent a significant amount of time abroad and is inspired to apply creative solutions to help solve America’s transportation and land use problems. His writing has been published in the American Public Transportation Association’s Speedlines newsletter.

Charles Hamilton, Ph. D. — AANW Vice-President & Treasurer, Communications

Charlie is co-Executive Director of All Aboard Washington (AAWA), which promotes safe, reliable, frequent, competitive, and convenient passenger rail services that improve the equity, economy, and environment for all Washingtonians. Charlie is also the founder and co-owner of CHCS Consulting, which provides research, organizational development, publicity, marketing, and website services to a diverse national client base of businesses and nonprofit organizations. He holds a Ph. D. in communication from the University of Maryland, and has a certificate in organizational development and training from Georgetown University. He relies on public transportation because his disability precludes him from driving.

With your help, we can continue our work toward making a better rail network in the Greater Northwest happen! All Aboard Northwest is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. Our tax ID number is 87-4397946. Thank you for your support!