Funding Lake Tahoe's Transportation Vision

ONE TAHOE is an initiative to complete funding on a long-awaited extensive transportation system envisioned by the community that will enhance the traveling experience (choices of transit, bike/pedestrian trails, auto, water borne) throughout the greater Lake Tahoe Region while protecting Lake Tahoe’s distinctive natural beauty.


The ONE TAHOE project web page, in addition to public meetings and extensive outreach, acts as a resource to gather public suggestions and to inform and educate people about funding needed to build, operate and maintain an improved regional transportation system. It includes funding shortfalls and vehicle impacts on the region.

Lake Tahoe is a national treasure that is heavily impacted by 50 million vehicles trips per year into, out of, and around the basin, and solutions need to be implemented to protect the lake. We may be biased, but we think Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Being one-of-a kind creates a special responsibility to preserve Lake Tahoe’s clear blue water.


Lake Tahoe needs your help. The “Jewel of the Sierra” is being loved to death. The vast amount of trips being made by motor vehicle have contributed to severe traffic congestion, unsafe conditions for cars, pedestrians, and cyclists, mounting air pollution, declining lake clarity, and other negative impacts. If current trends continue, the Lake Tahoe of tomorrow will be less attractive to our residents and many visitors leading to a declining economy, job losses, and ultimately serious harm to this wonderful place we all love – Lake Tahoe.


Our transportation system can play a major part in mitigating these impacts. Funds are needed to implement, operate, and maintain an extensive transportation system that includes transit and multi-modal options such as bike/pedestrian trails and ferries. This complete transportation system will mitigate vehicle impacts to Lake Tahoe and protect its pristine beauty for future generations.

* For more information, please see our FAQsfunding ideas and evaluation criteria, and  press release.
** Feb. 29, 2020 Newspaper Article:
1. Click here to read the article published in the RGJ.
*** Jan. 31/Feb. 4, 2020 Presentations:
1. Click here to download the recommendations on funding mechanisms presented at TTD's January Board meeting.
2. Click here to download the overview presented at the February North Lake Tahoe Resort Association/Chamber of Commerce First Tuesday Breakfast Club meeting.
**** Nov. 14/Dec. 3, 2019 Listening Session Handouts:
1. Click here to download the listening session presentation with summary tier 3 screening results.
***** September 24, 2019 Listening Session Handouts:
1. Click here to download a list of proposed transportation funding mechanisms.
2. Click here to download the evaluation criteria for potential transportation funding sources.

The existing Regional Transportation Plan, which covers the Lake Tahoe Basin and connections beyond, articulates the community’s transportation vision. This plan has been developed and evolved over decades with the participation of the public (e.g. community members); multiple public and private stakeholders; local jurisdictions; 5 counties (Placer, El Dorado, Douglas, Washoe, Carson City County); one city (South Lake Tahoe);  2 states (California and Nevada), and Federal agencies. The Regional Transportation Plan is consistent with and supportive of local plans.


A group of transportation professionals have been working with all the local agencies to verify the amount of money that is needed annually for an improved regional transportation system.


Next, the experts built a screening process through which your ideas to generate this funding will be carefully considered and weighed.


Then, they are dispersing throughout the region to solicit your ideas of how to fund this system.

Current regional transportation plans, newly available data and studies by experts reveal a $3.12 billion "price tag" to cover transportation system funding needs through 2040. Current public and private funding sources during this period are expected to be about $1.58 billion. This leaves a $1.53 billion shortfall in the transportation funding needed through 2040.



This project page exists to receive your input and ideas for capturing funding and to inform the public about the threats to Lake Tahoe. Working together we will find equitable solutions to capture funding opportunities by reaching both residents and visitors.


In putting together a plan to provide complete funding for the community’s enhanced regional Lake Tahoe Transportation System, your ideas and suggestions are needed to develop a list for elected officials and leaders to consider. ​Working together, we will find equitable solutions. 

Success! Message received.


50 million vehicle trips in, out, and around the Basin annually leads to:

  • Traffic Congestion

  • Lack of Parking

  • Safety Issues

Automobile exhaust is one of the major causes of air pollution.

lake tahoe topogrphical.png

Tahoe is losing about one foot of clarity per year.

Periods of extreme traffic congestion and auto emissions pollute the air.

Over half of nitrogen pollution impacting lake clarity comes from fallout created by vehicle exhaust.


Over 70% of the particulates impacting Lake Tahoe’s declining clarity come from the current transportation system and built environment – runoff from urban areas and roadways.

These threats adversely impact the area’s economy, environment and visitor/resident experience.



Years of collaborative work by various agencies and public input have culminated in aggressive plans to protect Lake Tahoe’s health and improve the quality of life and visits for those drawn to its shores. These plans include more transit and multi-modal options for visitors and residents. The greatest positive impacts will come from persuading those people who are driving the 50 million vehicle trips in, out, and around the basin to become accustomed to parking their vehicles and using transit or walk and/or bike when it is convenient.


Thousands of people in communities around Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Region have provided input for their local plans - be it plans for cyclist and pedestrian paths or roadways. These local plans have been incorporated into the Regional Transportation Plan.  


Lake Tahoe cannot wait much longer. The number of vehicles in Lake Tahoe will increase as populations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Reno, and in the contiguous counties to the Lake Tahoe Basin increase. Populations are projected to realize incredible growth in the coming years. The solution is not to build more roads and spoil the beauty of the basin. Transportation solutions have been identified in the community-developed Regional Transportation Plan, but more funding is needed.

The federal government, the two states, and the local government within the Lake Tahoe Basin have established transportation funding sources, but it is not enough. Those who visit and live in the Basin must take responsibility for their impact on this special place. We must think carefully about the value this place holds in the quality of our own lives and work together and offer our piece to the solution. Together we can mitigate the impacts of vehicle traffic.

Recent studies have determined that there are about 50 million vehicle trips into, out of and within the Lake Tahoe Basin annually. Of these trips, about 75% are made by visitors and 25% are made by residents and workforce.

TOGETHER, we can reduce the impact of motor vehicles and protect Tahoe’s unique beauty for generations to come.


Long before Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), camped on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Native people in the Sierra knew of and appreciated the beauty of this alpine lake in which you could see more than 100 feet into its 1644 foot depth. The alpine setting surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Range and its mountains, several of which reach more than 10,000 feet in height, draws millions of visitors traveling by vehicles each summer. To many, it is a spiritual site which reminds us of our humanity.


But for the course of history (e.g. settlement patterns), Lake Tahoe might have been a national park, like Yosemite. Regardless, Lake Tahoe is a national treasure, and one that needs to be protected.



Imagine a complete transportation system serving the Lake Tahoe Basin. A system that offers you real alternatives to the car with expanded opportunities to use transit, walk, bike, or ride a ferry, not necessarily for every trip, but where and when it works. A system that offers visitors choices for traveling to Lake Tahoe from home without having to use a car. Many successful destination communities already have these choices. Why don't we?


For over 40 years, the solutions have been known. They have been identified in successive Regional Transportation Plans and policies for years. As the major urban areas outside Tahoe continue to grow and future generations continue to want to enjoy the Tahoe area, it is time to finish putting the resources in place that will make the community's transportation vision a reality.


A transportation system encompasses residents' ability to arrive safely to work, school, stores and amenities; it is reliable and convenient. Visitors need and want an enjoyable experience, enhancing the quality of their visit in addition to safety, convenience and reliability. Businesses need a system that brings supplies, materials, products, employees and customers to and from their establishments in a timely manner.