Senator, Caltrans chief tour area road projects | SierraSun.com

Senator, Caltrans chief tour area road projects

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunKen Grehm, director of Public Works for Placer County, shows Ron Treabess of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, Sen. Dave Cox, Caltrans District 3 Director Jody Jones and Caltrans Director Will Kempton a Kings Beach redevelopment plan in Kings Beach Thursday. The group toured several of the Tahoe Basin's proposed transportation projects.
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California Sen. Dave Cox and Caltrans Director Will Kempton toured Truckee and Tahoe transportation projects Thursday and urged the community to remain involved in the plans.

“We’re not strangers to controversy when it comes to transportation projects,” Kempton said, after listening to a brief presentation on the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement project Thursday afternoon.

Kempton and Cox both said they were impressed by the dialogue and collaboration that has taken place between government agencies and the public over the commercial core project.

Despite the controversy that surrounds the proposed downtown corridor renovation, Cox remained positive that a beneficial project will move forward.

“Sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but that’s the process,” Cox said. “Communities have a way of coming together.”

The state officials’ stop in downtown Kings Beach was one of several visits to proposed transportation project sites throughout the region, including the mousehole on Highway 89, the Tahoe City transit center at 64 Acres and Fanny Bridge.

“I think the state has significant transportation needs across the board,” Kempton said. “And Tahoe is not an exception.”

However, being the “jewel of the Sierra,” Tahoe is unique in its needs, Kempton said.

The visit was an opportunity for the state officials to grasp an on-the-ground perspective on what’s in store for the future of Tahoe roadways.

“Every time you can get together you have the opportunity to make some progress,” Senator Cox said.

Steve Teshara, executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, South Lake Tahoe Mayor Mike Weber and Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz were among the local officials who toured the sites with Cox and Kempton.

“It was very productive,” Teshara said. “We saw a lot in a short period of time, but the director [of Caltrans] is very astute and asked a lot of good questions.”

By the end of the day, Teshara said the officials felt they could all do more to work collaboratively on regional transportation projects, especially in the early project scoping and planning phases.

“I think we all understand that the sooner we can sit down, collaborate and address the issues the better,” he said.

Thursday’s tour was Kempton’s first business visit to transportation sites in the Basin, according to Nghia Demovic, Senator Cox’s spokeswoman.

Senator Cox invited Kempton to the region on the request of local officials, Teshara said.

“The Senator was true to his word and brought the director to the Truckee-Tahoe area,” he said.