New natural gas station in the works |

New natural gas station in the works

Lake Tahoe Basin transportation officials are working out the kinks in a contract to install a natural gas station west of the “Y.”

The permanent station would replace the mobile natural gas trailer on Shop Street, across from the South Lake Tahoe corporation yard.

Transportation district board members did not agree to move forward Friday with a construction agreement until more contract details were outlined.

Board member Steve Teshara said the transportation district wanted a business plan and possible revenue generation before authorizing an agreement with the proposed contractor, Pinnacle CNG of Midland, Texas.

Richard Wiggins, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency transportation division chief, said board members wanted to make sure compressed natural gas prices were comparable to diesel fuel.

However, he said the board recognizes environmental benefits of the cleaner-burning natural gas over diesel.

Only one of South Shore’s eight public busses and vans run on natural gas. However, Ken Daley, general manager for Area Transit Management, said two natural gas vans will come online by the end of this year and two natural gas busses by next April.

Daley said the permanent fueling station will be able to accommodate an entire changeover to natural gas, which he anticipates within five to seven years.

The mobile natural gas station fuels 15 vehicles, including U.S. Post Office, Avista Utilities and school district trucks. The proposed permanent station will be able to fuel multiple vehicles simultaneously, within 10 minutes.

Wiggins said this will allow for the future purchase of high mileage natural gas transit busses, school busses, garbage trucks, utility fleets and snow removal equipment.

The station is estimated to cost between $600,000 and $1 million and will be paid for by federal and state funds.

Wiggins said a more complete proposal will go before the board next month with hopes of opening an operational station in November. He said the mobile station will be moved to the North Shore, before a permanent station is installed there.

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