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Tahoe battling traffic congestion

Allen Best

LAKE TAHOE – Like everywhere else, roads and streets around Lake Tahoe are congested with cars, and it’s getting worst.

In response, some see a combination of rail transportation and boats across the lake as the solution. This vision of the future, as explained in the Tahoe Daily Tribune, is a remembrance of the past. Among these visionaries is Gunar Henrieolle, who has 18 rail cars that he purchased from the City of San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the new leader of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, John Singlaub, is hoping to have a unified vision in place by 2007. “If we have any hope of having an Olympics near the lake, we’d have to deal with the gridlock. Right now we can’t even handle Presidents Day weekend.”

Others, such as Chris Swan, who owns a San Francisco-based company called Suntrain, foresees trains powered by a combination of solar energy and fuel cells. The salvation he sees is development of hydrogen fuel cells, which he predicts will be in place by 2006.

Real estate hot after cold spell

CRESTED BUTTE – Real estate agents are getting busy in many resort towns, but the change seems to be much greater at Crested Butte since the sale of the ski area. From a report issued by the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association, the scenes are somewhat reminiscent of an old mining town after new gold strikes.

Real estate agent Joel Vosburg reports that more property has exchanged hands in the last two months than in the previous 18 months. Prices have gone up 10, 20, even 30 percent in the last month or two, according to a press release.

Meanwhile, Jim Gebhart’s real estate office has 60 properties under contract where last year he had around a dozen.

Agent Cathy Benson reports working 12 hours a day, seven days a week. “We’ve had growth spurts before, but not this gross volume of sales ever in my 30-plus years in real estate here,” she said.

When a $229,000 condo deal fell through in March, the owner put the unit back on the market the following week for $259,000 and immediately received three full-price offers.

Little in the way of development had happened at Crested Butte for several years, at least partially because of the declining fortunes of the ski area. There is broad optimism that the new owners, Vermont-based Tim and Diane Mueller, have both the resources to invest in the infrastructure and the personalities to get along with the local, environmental-minded community.


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