State: No money for Tahoe-Carson bus route

There’s only one federally funded route for public transportation from South Lake Tahoe to Carson City and that’s through Carson Valley.

On Sunday, Nevada Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Meg Ragonese said Tahoe Transportation District’s 21X route from South Lake Tahoe to Carson City won’t be receiving money from the state.

Ragonese issued the statement in response to a news report that the Tahoe Transportation District Manger Carl Hasty was hoping to receive money from the state to bring the route back.

The route serves about 25,000 passengers a year.

“This route is not eligible for any funding source which NDOT controls,” she said. “The only federal transit funding which NDOT administers is very specifically for rural areas, and can no longer be used to fund a transit route on Highway 50 between Carson City and South Lake Tahoe under Tahoe’s new urbanized federal transportation funding designation.”

Ragonese said the state, the district and federal transportation authorities have agreed the route is not eligible for funding.

She said that $1 million of the $6 million the state has available for rural transit funding will go to other routes connecting Carson Valley and Carson City to Lake Tahoe over Kingsbury Grade.

“This federal transit funding is designated for rural transit service to and from rural areas such as the Carson Valley, and is not available for transit service solely between Carson City and Lake Tahoe because they are both designated as urban areas by federal transportation funding standards,” she said.

Every year, the state administers approximately $6 million in federal funding for rural Nevada transit.

This funding provides nearly one and a half million transit rides annually for the disabled, veterans, the elderly and other rural Nevadans; allowing them to get to employment, medical treatment and more. It even provides nonemergency medical transport, according to Ragonese.

“Our goal is to keep Nevada safe and connected- and rural transit service is an important way to keep rural Nevadans mobile and connected to the services they need,” she said.

In December, the district changed its federal designation from rural to urban, which allowed it to apply for five-year funding, rather than being subject to annual funding.

The district operates the bus service formerly known as BlueGo, which connects Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley, and has routes to Carson City.


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