Douglas Commission discusses microtransit funding at special meeting

Laney Griffo

STATELINE, Nev. — Douglas County Commissioners met on Monday for a Special Meeting to discuss providing funding for microtransit which was part of the permit conditions for the events center.

Microtransit is required to be operational by summer 2023 but will be piloted in summer 2022. In the beginning, it will mostly service the city of South Lake Tahoe but the line will also service portions of the Lake Tahoe region of Douglas County, mainly the Stateline/Casino Corridor area.

Twenty agencies, including El Dorado County, the city of South Lake Tahoe, the casinos, Edgewood and Heavenly Mountain Resort have contributed $600k. The proposed microtransit line still needs an additional $600k to get started.

The Douglas County Commission is required to spend at least 1% of the transient occupancy tax revenue in the Tahoe Township and is also required to fund up to one-half of 1% towards the microtransit line.

While the commission understands the requirement to allocate dollars towards transit, they have not yet agreed on how much to spend. Monday’s meeting allowed commissioners to ask questions of Lew Feldmen, who is helping oversee the event center permit requirements, as well as hear from the public.

Commissioner John Engels said he spoke to residents of Lake Tahoe who said they had no idea this was happening and he was concerned about the lack of outreach and communication, although the Tribune published a story about parking and microtransit in April.

Commissioner Wes Rice, who represents Lake Tahoe and is seeking re-election, said since it was part of the permit conditions, its been in the public record for quite some time. He also acknowledged the need to have more public workshops before a decision is made.

Darcie Collins, CEO for The League to Save Lake Tahoe, said part of the goal of the pilot program is to raise awareness of the new transit options.

More than 20 people spoke, mostly on behalf of businesses and agencies, including Barton Hospital and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, all in support of Douglas County providing the full amount of TOT towards this program.

However, there were concerns raised about the amount of money being asked of Douglas County being disproportionate to the amount of service within the county. Still most speakers thought it was a step in the right direction and hoped to see expansion of the program in the future.

“It was so nice to be at a commission meeting with so many friendly faces, it doesn’t happen often,” Rice said.

No decision was made today but the county in the future will be scheduling more meetings.

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