Limited impact from government shutdown on Lake Tahoe South Shore
The three-day government shutdown that ended Monday night does not appear to have had much of a direct impact on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore. But with Monday’s agreement only keeping the government open through Feb. 8, some see the recent events as further evidence of the need for greater stability in the federal budget process.
“The inability to really have consistent, sustained funding on a regular basis has become something we’ve all had to kind of get accustomed to with the way Congress has been for a number of years, but this three weeks at time, threat of a shutdown stuff it’s … it’s not constructive,” Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) Manager Carl Hasty told the Tribune, echoing sentiments shared by many, including leaders in Congress who say they would like to see a return to regular appropriation processes.
The recent shutdown did not directly impact TTD — buses continued to run and staff members were at work Monday. It did not last long enough to affect funding for transit services, and even if it had lasted longer the district had funding set aside to fund those services for a certain amount of time.
For TTD, government shutdowns do have the impact of delaying projects that require collaboration with federal agencies, adding more time to efforts that already must clear a myriad of regulatory hurdles.
In a similar fashion, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency also is inhibited when it comes to collaborating with federal partners during a shutdown, according to Tom Lotshaw, public information officer for TRPA. That impact aside, a government shutdown does not affect TRPA and its employees.
The shutdown did shutter the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit office in South Lake Tahoe. A sign posted on the front door informed visitors that the office was closed “due to a lapse in federal government funding.” The same sign was posted on Forest Service offices elsewhere in the U.S.
A local spokesperson directed questions about the impact of the closure to a national spokesperson Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued direction Friday, Jan. 19, that clarified certain Forest Service personnel would continue working during a shutdown. Those included people working in fire suppression, emergency and defense preparedness, and other areas.
The recent shutdown — the first since 2013 — started Saturday morning at 12:01 after the Senate failed to clear a 60-vote threshold largely due to objection from Democrats who wanted to see a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Democrats changed course several days later after a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to address immigration in the coming weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.