DOT Gives Tribes Over $9 Million for Transportation Improvement
By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced that 74 tribes in 20 states will receive more than $9 million for 77 projects from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)'s Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund (TTPSF) to improve transportation safety on tribal lands.
“Transportation is a key to accessing opportunity, and we are committed to helping make travel safer on tribal roads,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “These funds will assist tribal communities in building a system that improves safety for the traveling public and provides residents increased access to greater long-term economic opportunity.”
The funds will be used for safety planning and roadway improvements. FHWA received 172 applications from 128 recognized tribes requesting a total of $40.3 million in assistance.
Congress created the program to improve highway safety on tribal roads and other transportation facilities – statistically, some of the most hazardous in the nation because of poor physical condition and other factors. Examples of this year’s grant recipients include:
- The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota will receive $950,175 to build a 4.1-mile-long bike/pedestrian trail to improve safety of area pedestrians.
- The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana will receive $438,531 to install and upgrade guardrail at 21 locations, including at bridge approaches and embankments, which is expected to reduce roadway departure crashes at the identified locations by 25 percent.
- The Colorado River Indian Tribes in Arizona will receive $408,500 to construct turn lanes and other intersection improvements at First Avenue to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes on a road that has experienced four fatal crashes in the past 15 years.
- The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa will receive $156,560 to build the West Village frontage road. When completed, it will reduce the number of vehicles at two intersections along US-30 and improve safety for tribal members, tribal operations staff and emergency service personnel driving to and from the main body of the Meskwaki Settlement to West Village.
- The Navajo Nation in New Mexico will receive $72,000 to improve safety of BIA Route N36 by installing additional signs and rehabilitating nearly 30 miles of pavement on one of the state’s most dangerous roads.
- The Native Village of Kotzebue in Alaska will receive $43,861 to prevent accidents and improve safety with school zone and parking lot improvements for the Nikaitchuat School, which serves young children. The new paved and striped parking lot will direct traffic smoothly and safely during pick-up and drop-off times, and provide enough parking capacity for the building which is shared with the Tribal Council.
A complete list of this year’s recipients, and additional detail about the program, can be found online at
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