FTA announces $5 million in grants for public transportation on tribal lands

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by Destiny WashingtonWednesday, January 15th 2020AA

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced projects to receive $5 million in grants to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments.

The Fiscal Year 2019 grants will support 39 projects in 20 states.

“The $5 million in Tribal Transit grants will help connect tribal residents with jobs, healthcare and other essential services,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Tribal Transit Program makes funds available to federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities to support capital projects, operating costs, and planning activities for public transportation services on and around tribal lands.

“The Federal Transit Administration is committed to helping tribal residents with their transportation needs,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.

The selected projects will receive Fiscal Year 2019 program funds.

Examples of selected projects include the following:

  • The Gulkana Village Council in Alaska, which operates Soaring Eagles Transit, will receive funding to replace transit vehicles that have exceeded their useful life. This project will improve safety, mobility, and service reliability for residents who use the service for local and intercity travel to surrounding communities in the region.
  • The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in Maine will receive funding to purchase a loader and plow to maintain its transit facilities and routes to ensure continued services for its tribal members in Aroostook County. The equipment will be used to remove snow and debris from transportation facilities and transit routes through the winter months and for materials movement at facilities in spring, summer, and fall.
  • The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina will receive funding to replace vehicles that have exceeded their useful life and to purchase a new vehicle for service expansion. This project will address state of good repair needs and help the tribe continue to provide transit service for residents to access jobs, education, and community services

In addition to the $5 million in competitive funding announced, $30 million in formula funding is provided to tribes each fiscal year as authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.