Tahoe bus system grapples with budget cuts
Ryan Summerlin April 4, 2009
LAKE TAHOE ” BlueGO might make service reductions to deal with California state budget cuts.
“We are on the right path, we just need to continue to steer the ship cost-effectively,” said Nancy McDermid, South Tahoe Area Transit Authority board president.
The biggest challenge for STATA, which oversees the BlueGO system, is to maintain its key services while dealing with revenue shortfalls, McDermid said.
“We are all dependent on the same revenue streams as everyone else,” McDermid said.
The proposed service changes include reducing some late-night neighborhood shuttles, shortening of routes, combining Routes 40 and 51 during midday hours, and eliminating part of Route 41X between Meyers and Stateline due to low ridership.
The adopted California state budget eliminated the State Transit Assistance Fund, resulting in a $180,000 cut for STATA. Another $330,000 will be cut in the next fiscal year.
STATA will still receive money from the federal government to purchase new buses, but the state’s elimination of operating dollars forced STATA to consider reducing services or raising fares.
The slow economy also has an impact. About 32 percent of the STATA operating budget relies on sales tax revenue. Revenue from sales tax this year is expected to drop $100,000 from the previous year.
Public workshops will be held to inform the public about the proposed changes and gather input. The first one is from 3 to 5 p.m. on April 16 at the South “Y” Transit Station. The second will be from 2 to 5 p.m. on April 17 at the Stateline Transit Center.
Public hearings will be held at the South Tahoe Area Transit Authority Board of Directors meeting at 10 a.m. May 15 at 128 Market St., and at the city of South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting at 9 a.m. on May 19 at the Lake Tahoe Airport.
All meeting locations are accessible by BlueGO and BlueGO OnCall. Call (530) 541-7149 for route and schedule information.
For a full listing of proposed service changes and to see where the public workshops will be held, please visit www.bluego.org, or call (775) 589-5284.