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Douglas County wants grant to pay for BlueGo transit

Jeff Munson, Tribune city editor

Less than a week after going online and becoming fully operational, the South Shore’s BlueGo coordinated bus transit system faces a funding shortage from Douglas County.

But on Thursday, Douglas Country leaders meeting in Stateline unanimously authorized a plan to request one-time grant money from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to come up with the $50,000 needed to fund the county’s contribution to the South Shore bus program.

A TRPA spokesman said the county shouldn’t have any problem getting the grant.

“It is important to us and the basin that the system goes on as it has. It is vital to the community,” said Mark Reynolds, TRPA’s senior transportation manager.

The Douglas County Commission unanimously agreed, saying they will go forward with the grant request to TRPA in January.

Hopefully by then the county will know where it stands with the federal money, Commissioner Tim Smith said.

The grant money would come from TRPA’s air quality mitigation funds, which the Douglas County Commission agreed they would apply for in January and then repay once the federal funding that the county relies on for its contribution comes through the Nevada Department of Transportation.

The BlueGo transportation system is a consolidated public bus service that consists of kiosks located throughout the South Shore as well as a designated telephone number that people can call to either find where the nearest bus stop is or have a bus pickup on demand. The phone number is (530) 541-7149.

It took 10 years and nearly $4 million dollars in federal and state transportation funds to get the program, which includes 38 buses and a transportation center, off the ground.

In other action taken by the board Thursday:

n The board unanimously agreed to support the position of the Carson Water Subconservancy District in its opposition to the federal Wild and Scenic designation proposal of the west and east forks of the Carson River.

n Acknowledging in a letter to the board the problems in his personal life, Commissioner Steve Weissinger stepped down as the board’s chairman. Kelly Kite, who has been serving as interim chairman since June, was voted in as chairman, while Bernie Curtis will service as vice chairman.

Weissinger is facing court hearings in two separate criminal cases involving embezzlement charges and a drunken driving charge.

In June, Weissinger was arrested at Raley’s Supermarket in South Lake Tahoe where he was a manager, after video surveillance allegedly shows Weissinger putting a $100 bill in his pocket. Weissinger has said that it was an accidental cash-handling error.

El Dorado County prosecutors will argue at a Nov. 3 trial date that they have evidence of three instances where Weissinger has allegedly taken more than $1,000. Weissinger has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Also, last month Weissinger was charged with suspicion of drunken driving while in Carson City. Weissinger’s attorney, William Cole, has said that Weissinger was under the legal limit of being under the influence.


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