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Domenici: $1.86B for Indian Reservation Roads

The $286.5 billion highway transportation bill that passed the House and Senate last week contains $1.86 billion for the Indian Reservation Roads program, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) said on Tuesday.

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 authorizes the money over the next five fiscal years, Domenici said. The program would receive $300 million for FY2005, $330 million for FY2006, $370 million for FY2007, $410 million for FY2008 and $450 million for FY2009.

"This is really great news, and I hope the Navajo Nation, the Pueblos and other tribes in New Mexico take advantage of this enhanced Indian Reservation Roads program," Domenici said.

According to Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), 15 percent of the IRR budget will go to New Mexico due to the size of the Navajo Nation. Overall, the bill contains $70 million for improvements to reservation bridges and $45 million for reservation transit projects. Bingaman also said it makes tribes eligible to nominate scenic byways.

Specific money was set aside for highway projects on the Navajo Nation. The bill contains $2 million to reconstruct U.S. 491 from Tohatchi to Shiprock, Bingaman said.

President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law.

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