The letter below from Commissioner Berkbigler is related to the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees approval of the $2.35M sale of 6.41 acres of land located at 771 Southwood Blvd. in Incline Village to the Tahoe Transportation District for the purpose of constructing and operating a Regional Transportation Hub. The sale is in progress.
There is so much misinformation out there about this school site issue that I wanted to take a moment to put past history down for all of you to read. Please read through this and if you have questions get back with me.
WASHOE COUNTY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ACQUISITION OF THIS SCHOOL SITE.
This property is/was owned by the WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (WCSD). Totally different government and the County has no authority over this property or any other WCSD issues.
As your County Commissioner I have maintained throughout this process that I DO NOT SUPPORT putting a bus terminal or transit hub in this location. I have requested and been granted by County Management that no County tax dollars go into this project. I have fully supported and requested there be open meetings and hearings with the residents of Incline Village to discuss this or any other project related to a transit hub regardless of where it is proposed. At the request of Carl Hasty I contacted Mr. Duffield’s staff to see if this property were to be acquired would they consider a trade for property at the old Bonanza Ranch location. The staff person got back to me and said no the Duffield’s were not interested.
Yes I sit on Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) board since as the County Commissioner representing the Lake portion of Washoe County I am assigned to sit on all Boards and Commissions connected with Lake Tahoe. I am not the chair or vice-chair. I do chair the finance committee but this issue has NEVER COME before the finance committee because the money being used is in the form of a transportation grant and is not coming from fees provided to TTD for operations of other transportation sites.
IT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOU ALL TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE TTD BOARD DID NOT VOTE TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT. IT DID NOT VOTE TO OBTAIN THE GRANTS THAT ARE BEING USED TO PURCHASE THIS PROPERTY.
In fact the TTD Board has had one hearing on the school site and that was an information only meeting. However I suspect should this issue come before the Board I would be the only dissenting vote which is very discouraging to me but logical because most of the members of the board are in some way connected to basin transportation systems.
The decision to obtain these grants was made at a group meeting that I was not invited to or even aware was taking place. I believe these grants were actually requested by NDOT as they are transportation grants.
Although I fully agree this property is not right for a transfer station and might be a good location for workforce housing no one has come to the County requesting assistance with building workforce housing at any location in IV/CB. This property has been for sale for several years and has been considered by other possible purchaser’s including IVGID and the Duffield foundation. I’ve no idea if others have expressed interest. Washoe County has never considered purchasing the property as such a purchase would have to come from taxpayers dollars. I will leave it to Indra Winquist and the Duffield foundation to express why they backed away from purchasing the property.
I know there are other properties located in IV that would be much better locations for a transit hub. As I understand it they all cost significantly more money for smaller land parcels. That is perhaps why none of these other locations was considered.
I believe there are many problems with transportation in and around the basin. Do we need a transportation system that will be regular enough to encourage visitors and everyday workers to use mass transit? One that has busses that come up and down from Reno and Carson City? YES. That would help reduce the heavy traffic. And I agree it probably should be vans, trolleys and smaller buses. But how is that going to be paid for? That is a problem that has not been fully vetted even though it is one the TTD Board has discussed at length. The general thought is to place a fee on all basin drivers. That would mean paying to enter the basin and perhaps daily fees for residents and workers. Personally that is something that I can’t see being supported by residents or visitors.
Please remember that I’m on your side on this issue and will continue to advocate for fair hearings on any transit hub regardless of where it will ultimately be located.
Washoe County Commissioner
To view the draft Tahoe Regional Transportation Plan, you may click here. Public hearings begin in late September through early October. The Executive Summary may be found by clicking here. Send comments to Michelle Glickert at firstname.lastname@example.org.