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Our View: Capitalizing the corridor

With the start of a series of storms sweeping over the Sierra, Truckee-Tahoe residents aren’t only readying for cold and snow, they’re girding for gridlock.

Once winter storms begin pounding the Interstate 80 corridor in earnest, Truckee’s streets and highways leading into the Tahoe Basin become a frozen sea of cars. Throw in a holiday and the gridlock is complete.

Visitors to our area have no alternative to pack up the car or SUV and head up the hill ” either from the east or west. The hordes of vehicles test both the environment and the patience of everyone unlucky enough to be caught.



That makes an idea batted about even more intriguing: Regularly scheduled train service over the Sierra Crest. Passenger trains crossing Donner Summit on a regular basis between Reno and the Bay Area ” an extension of the popular and successful Amtrak Capitol Corridor route ” would go a long way in saving vehicle

trips.



Just two years ago state transportation planners floated the idea of extending the Capitol Corridor route to Reno/Sparks, which would mean stops in Soda Springs and Truckee on the four daily round trips between Oakland and Northern Nevada.

A comprehensive regional network of busses and trolleys would be needed for visitors once they got off a train in Truckee, but such a demand would make use of the public transportation service already in place in the Truckee-Tahoe region.

Studies done in the early and late 1990s pointed favorably toward passenger rail service over the Sierra. The target market would be people heading to the mountains to recreate and to Reno to gamble without their cars “and that gridlock.


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