Lake Tahoe/Truckee-wide public transit system eyed by 2023 | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe/Truckee-wide public transit system eyed by 2023

Staff report

A TART bus pulls over at an Incline Village stop during a previous winter. The Highway 28 corridor would be a main thoroughfare for a regional transit system.

STATELINE, Nev. — The Tahoe Transportation District board of directors in December approved an eight-year vision to complete a public transportation system connecting Lake Tahoe communities and Truckee along U.S. Highway 50 and Interstate 80.

According to district officials, the inter-regional connections with public transit will benefit travel, economy, safety and convenience in each community.

Bringing the goal to reality will involve collaboration with Tahoe-Truckee Area Regional Transit and ongoing involvement from the communities to be served.

The goals include completion of projects and bike trails like the approved SR 89 Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project, US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project, and the all-season Crosslake Passenger Ferry, presently under consideration.

Earlier in December, TTD announced a major step with a five-year annual federal funding formula to support the local transit system and sustainable transit services for residents, visitors and commuters.

To determine the optimal implementation strategy, TTD board members and staff have conducted extensive interviews from communities in similar regions including San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Monterey-Salinas, Placer County and Contra Costa.

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The organization's findings demonstrated that a thriving transit system would add public value to the region through environmental improvement and protection of Lake Tahoe. It would also enhance economic vitality and contributions to the overall quality of life in the region, according to TTD.

A previous study indicates that more than 70 percent of the particulates impacting Lake Tahoe's famed water clarity originate from the transportation system and land development. Vehicles are also a major source of emissions that pollute the air and fuel algae growth in the lake.

"Providing dependable, safe, affordable, environmentally friendly and easy to use transportation that connects communities throughout the Basin is essential to the economic health of the Lake Tahoe region," said Carl Hasty, district manager for the Tahoe Transportation District.

Working toward the 8-year goal, the TTD board recently approved a series of actions that will lead to the district directly operating transit in South Lake Tahoe with a target date of Nov. 1, 2016.

Local management will result in consistent service and routes, as well as operational and budgetary efficiencies.

"The board believes this is the right direction we should be going to contribute to a successful resort region," said Steve Teshara, chair of the Tahoe Transportation District Board of Directors. "TTD was created to provide strategic oversight, execute long-term planning, and deliver a transit system and mobility improvements around the Basin. We look forward to working with many partners to accomplish these goals."

For details on TTD and its current projects, visit http://www.tahoetransportation.org.