Tribes secure over $9M in grants to improve transportation safety

A highway running through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation. Photo: Ron Cogswell

The Department of Transportation has awarded more than $9 million to tribes to help them address safety issues on their homelands.

The money comes from the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund. It's going to 74 tribes in 20 states to fund a variety of road, bridge, pedestrian and other transportation projects.

“Transportation is a key to accessing opportunity and we are committed to helping make travel safer on tribal roads,” Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a press release. “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.”

A funding notice went out last July and 128 tribes submitted 172 applications totaling $40.3 million in assistance, according to the department. The Federal Highway Administration approved less than a quarter of the requests.

The largest award of $950,175 went to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The tribe will use the grant for Onigum Road Trail, a 4.1-mile-long bike/pedestrian trail that will improve safety for area pedestrians in Cass County, Minnesota.

The second-largest grant of $799,981 went to the Forest County Potawatomi Community. The tribe will use the funds to complete a second phase of an intersection improvement project near its headquarters in Wisconsin.

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Funding (July 18, 2016)

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