Transportation chief resigns from TRPA
August 30, 2004
The chief of the transportation division at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency resigned on Friday after working for nearly 10 years at the organization.
Richard Wiggins, 47, of Galena said he quit his job because he and his wife have purchased a day-labor employment service, A. Spear Workforce in the Reno area.
For now, the TRPA says it will not recruit anyone to fill Wiggins’ position because it is in the process of reorganizing how it operates. Nick Haven, a transportation planner with the agency, will serve as acting chief of the transportation division, said Julie Regan, TRPA communications director.
Creating viable transportation systems for the Lake Tahoe Basin has been a struggle. Wiggins said a lack of funding for transportation projects is what is holding back progress.
“We can’t crack the equation of how to pay for more public transit,” Wiggins said. “We’ve never gotten to the place we wanted to be. Service is on a shoestring right now.”
In 1999, the Lake Tahoe Basin obtained status as an MPO, a metropolitan planning organization. The status allows the basin to receive money from the federal government to fund transportation projects, but it doesn’t guarantee it.
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A transportation bill that includes money for Tahoe remains stuck in Congress. Depending on what version of the bill passes, it could mean $300,000 to $500,000 a year in operational funding; and from $3 million to $7 million in capital improvement funding, Wiggins said.
But Wiggins doesn’t see the federal government as the only solution to the basin’s transportation problems.
“There’s got to be 20 different ways to raise money – no one has the will to ante up,” he said. “If people really put their minds to something, they can do it. There is so much potential. We’ve got to quit arguing with each other and get stuff done.”
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at email@example.com