BlueGo operator receives $5M grant |

BlueGo operator receives $5M grant

by Laney Griffo

A $5.2 million federal grant will help the Tahoe Transportation District weather the coronavirus storm.

“This money isn’t intended to be a windfall,” District Director Carl Hasty said. “It is just giving us some certainty for this fiscal year and into the next because we’re not expecting this situation to change anytime soon.”

The district operates the BlueGo buses at Lake Tahoe.

The grant was part of $8.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, which also benefitted Tahoe Area Regional Transit.

“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The district will use the grant funds for operating, administrative and preventative maintenance expenses, which are necessary for the continued operation of transit services in Lake Tahoe.

In a normal year, the district collects about $600,000-700,000 from fares. Once the pandemic hit, ridership dropped nearly 60 percent, and although it has started to recover, it isn’t back to 100 percent.

They decided to make rides free and they’ve incurred extra costs because of the extensive cleaning they’ve implemented, so Hasty told the Tahoe Daily Tribune this money will help immensely to cover those costs.

In addition to the CARES Act funding, FTA issued a safety advisory that prompts transit agencies to develop and implement policies and procedures regarding face coverings and personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, physical separation, and hand hygiene consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance, which the district has already done. CARES Act funding can be used to cover 100 percent of those costs.