‘Complete streets’ could cost $312 million
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Few disagree that South Lake Tahoe could use some road repairs, new bike paths, sidewalks and street lights.
Until, of course, one looks at how much they’ll cost.
Infrastructure for “complete streets” in the city will cost an estimated $260.4 million, according to a Dec. 8 staff report from South Lake Tahoe Engineering Manager Stan Hill and Assistant Engineer Jim Marino.
Design, permitting, construction inspection, materials testing and construction contingency could drive the cost to $312 million, according to the report.
Complete streets include water quality improvements, curbs, gutters, engineered pavement and bike trails or routes. Sidewalks and street lights are also included on arterial and “collector” streets under the concept. Collector streets are generally not as wide as arterials, but have more traffic than neighborhood streets.
Much of Ski Run Boulevard is considered a complete street. The city’s general plan update includes complete street requirements for all arterials and collectors.
But, with the city facing a structural deficit for the next five years, where the money will come from to pay for the goal is unknown.
Environmental Improvement Program-funded projects already started in city neighborhoods include many of the improvements outside of pavement reconstruction.
Money from the public-private partnership is used for projects that benefit water quality or other aspects of the environment and won’t pay for infrastructure improvements alone.
More than $5.5 million is available to the city for infrastructure-related improvements annually from federal and state sources, although large chunks of that money are on hold or in doubt.
California Tahoe Conservancy funding for Environmental Improvement Program projects is on hold and only one more year of Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act funding is expected to be available because of the economy’s effect on the sale of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land around Las Vegas, according to the staff report.
The city has previously sought $38.92 million in federal and state funding for infrastructure repair, but has not been successful.
The staff report suggests exploring local tax measures, parking meter programs, residential water surcharges, redevelopment money, street cut fees, franchise fee increases, assessment districts, gas tax increases, the annexation of Heavenly Mountain Resort, federal grants and state grants as possible sources of funding for complete streets.
The report also suggests city officials speak with federal and state Environmental Improvement Program funders about the importance of roadway components when it comes to water quality.
The South Lake Tahoe City Council is scheduled to hear a presentation on complete streets at its Tuesday meeting. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airport.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council will discuss how to move forward with Lakeview Commons. The El Dorado Beach improvement project has been stalled since September, following a contractor’s challenge to a construction contract awarded by the city.
The discussion on Lakeview Commons is scheduled to be held in closed session prior to the start of the regular meeting at 9 a.m.