Letter: ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality unproductive in Loop Road discussion (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter: ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality unproductive in Loop Road discussion (opinion)

There’s been recent talk about the U.S. 50 Community Revitalization Project (aka the Loop Road), and I applaud the city of South Lake Tahoe for taking an active role in listening to the community as the planning phase of the project begins.

There are many significant concerns, which is normal with a project of this scope. That said, the “us vs. them” mentality that many residents use as a reason to avoid this opportunity is frustrating and potentially damaging to our community.

There’s no denying that we live in a tourism economy. There’s also no denying that it’s the tax revenue generated by visitors to our community that pays for essential city services.

Our tourism economy generates significant transient occupancy tax and sales tax revenue for the city of South Tahoe, enough that those sources represent nearly 60% of the city’s annual general fund budget. And it’s the general fund budget that pays for police, fire, streets and snow removal.

Tourism-generated tax revenue is directly responsible for our city services.

Yes, the Loop Road will benefit the area around the casino core. But it will help more than just the businesses there. The additional tax revenue produced from this project ($25-78 million more, according to a 2018 economic analysis) will go far toward supporting the essential city services that we all rely on.

I’ve owned a business in South Lake Tahoe for over 28 years, one that attracts visitors and locals. Both groups are essential, and we shouldn’t be forced to choose between them.

It’s not either/or. What’s good for our visitors is good for our economy. And a strong economy is good for locals.

The saying goes “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

The Loop Road project is the rising tide that our community needs for a vibrant and sustainable future.

Pete Joseph

Owner, McP’s Taphouse Grill