DOT awards road safety grants to Tribal Nations
Today, the Obama Administration is holding its 5th Tribal Nations Conference, and we at DOT are proud to be part of the President’s initiative to build a more respectful, collaborative relationship that moves our nations closer to our shared goals. One of those shared goals is improving transportation.
The Department of Transportation’s position is clear: Residents of our tribal nations need and deserve safe roads and bridges, and access to reliable public transportation.
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior.
And that is a key part of our mission at DOT. We are committed to ensuring that everyone –regardless of where you live– has access to safe transportation.
Today, I’m happy to announce the latest evidence of that commitment as we award $8.6 million to 183 tribes to increase transportation safety on their lands. These new funds will help improve and protect the roads for everyone who depends on them.
The grants cover a wide range of safety planning, engineering improvements, enforcement and emergency services, and safety education. For example, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma will receive $525,000 to modify a key intersection with new signal lights, better signage, and improved acceleration and deceleration lanes.
They also include important projects that –because we live in warmer, more forgiving climates– most of us probably wouldn't have realized were critical for motorist safety. For example, the Native Village of Chuathbaluk in Alaska will receive $100,000 to create safe havens with emergency supplies and heat for people stranded by vehicle breakdowns or impassable rivers.
Photo courtesy Tim Kelley.
Importantly, these new Tribal Transportation Program safety grants from the Federal Highway Administration go directly to Tribes for projects and planning in Indian Country. That means that for these grants, Tribes will work directly with the FHWA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs without having to go through state governors or county officials. It makes sense –local leaders are in the best position to know what their greatest transportation needs are.
Many of these grants will also provide tribal governments with funds to develop brand new safety plans, so this program will seed safety benefits that extend well into the future.
I look forward to continuing to work with Tribal leaders to safely connect all communities with the 21st century economy.