The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the spending of $3 million by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (NLTRA) for four capital and transportation projects. NLTRA is contracted with the county (with Board approval) for transportation and infrastructure development, and tourism and visitor information service.
Funding for the projects is provided by the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), which is added to the costs of lodging. The TOT is in place throughout the county at the rate of 8 percent. In the North Lake Tahoe area, an additional 2 percent is added to all lodgings. That additional 2 percent has generated revenues that have funded millions of dollars in infrastructure projects and transportation upgrades in the Tahoe Basin.
In January, the Board of Supervisors approved a ballot measure for the June 5, 2012, election that will extend the additional 2 percent in TOT charges for North Lake Tahoe lodging. Initially approved by local voters in 1996, the additional 2 percent TOT had a sunset date of 2002. The 2 percent TOT was then approved a second time by North Lake Tahoe voters in October 2002. That extension is set to expire in September of this year unless North Lake Tahoe voters approve the TOT measure on the June ballot.
The additional 2 percent has contributed $30 million since 1996. That money has been used as a local match and leveraged in more than $160 million in state and federal funding for projects that would otherwise not have been built in the region.
All NLTRA infrastructure expenditures are approved by the Board. The four projects funded Tuesday are:
- North Lake Tahoe Historical Society Black Bear Exhibit ($10,000). The funding will go towards an interpretive display in the Gatekeepers Museum in Tahoe City;
- Auburn, Truckee and North Lake Tahoe Visitors Centers ($112,000). This project will allow for development and installation of two visitor-oriented displays in Auburn, Truckee and the moving and upgrading of the existing visitor center in Tahoe City;
- North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle Pilot Program ($380,000): This is funding for a three-year pilot program that will use water shuttles on the lake to connect the West Shore, Tahoe City, Carnelian Bay and Tahoe Vista; and
- Lake Tahoe Regional Multimodal Pedestrian and Safety Improvement Project ($2.5 million): The project, formerly known as the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project, will upgrade and repair a 1.1-mile stretch of Highway 28 through Kings Beach. The TOT funds will help fund construction of curb, gutter, sidewalks and storm water drainage elements.
North Lake Tahoe voters will have the opportunity to renew the 2 percent TOT in the June 5, 2012 election. Since 1996, projects that have received funding from the 2 percent TOT include:
- Commons Beach;
- Squaw Valley Community Park;
- North Tahoe Regional Park;
- Tahoe Vista Recreation Area;
- Tahoe City Lakeside Bike Trail;
- Midway Bridge to Squaw Valley;
- North Lake Tahoe Airport Express Shuttle;
- Free Night Rider Shuttles;
- Bus Shelters;
- Seasonal Traffic Management; and
- Airport Welcome Center.