Transportation advocate to enter city race |

Transportation advocate to enter city race

Jeff Munson, Tribune city editor

With energy independence being contemplated at the federal level, South Lake Tahoe City Council candidate Gunnar L. Henrioulle says the basin is an ideal place to be the nation’s first multi-faceted, environmentally friendly transportation hub.

“Sept. 11 warns us to prepare for things not yet experienced. War will ebb and flow. Reality meets South Lake Tahoe in transport and demands energy independence,” said Henrioulle, who intends to file for a City Council seat. “Wind, solar, renewables-powered transport at Tahoe will retool our economy.”

The 60-year-old retired airport employee, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1998 and 2000, says his world view — spiritual with a foundation in Christianity and intellectual — along with a platform that emphasizes accountability, qualifies him for the job.

“The City Council needs to have a couple of people focused on transportation improvements,” he said. “Let’s find a way to have the status of a transportation plan addressed monthly.”

Besides Henrioulle’s positions on transportation, he emphasizes three other platforms: affordable housing, forest health and building a convention center. He believes the city can make bold strides in these areas, without raising taxes.

But the bulk of his platform is a transportation model. The plan would address several transportation elements he says would ultimately be cost-effective, environmentally sound and be a model for other cities and counties across the nation.

First, Henrioulle envisions an airport strategic action plan that addresses visitors and locals who want convenient access to Lake Tahoe, with all travel modes connecting.

Secondly, he wants the California Department of Transportation to consider putting a tunnel for a high-speed railway underneath Echo Summit. Additionally, he envisions Swiss and Japanese electric-railway concepts for the basin.

Third, he wants all buses to be run on clean fuel cells and the city of South Lake Tahoe to encourage bicycle riding.

He said federal transportation grant money is available to start these programs, which, when fully operational, would be cost-effective.

“The citizens and voters of Lake Tahoe have a right to ask for federal assistance to put together a first-class transportation system, including all various modes — waterborne, highway, aviation and railway,” he said.

If elected, Henrioulle resolves to help solve housing and forest problems with integrity.

He cites his membership in the American Public Transit Association, which he says will help South Lake Tahoe become a national model of energy independence.

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