FTA awards $8.6 million to improve transit for Native Tribes and Alaskan Villages

Posted: 13 October 2022 | | No comments yet

Provided through FTA’s Tribal Transit Program, the new funding will improve public transportation, as well as access to jobs, schools and healthcare for more than two dozen American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native communities.

FTA awards $8.6 million to improve transit for Native Tribes and Alaskan Villages

Credit: Federal Transit Administration

The U.S. Department of Transportation‘s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced that it has awarded $8.6 million in grants to 25 American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native communities to improve their transit.

The competitive grants under FTA’s Tribal Transit Program are in addition to more than $35 million in formula funding that is provided for Tribal Transit each year. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes nearly $46 million in competitive funding over five years for Tribal Transit, an increase of nearly 83 per cent.

“We are taking an important step to help ensure Tribal residents have access to reliable, affordable ways to get around,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants will help improve transit for Tribal Nations around our country.”

According to the National Transit Database, nearly 12 million vehicle miles of service are provided by Tribal Transit systems each year nationwide, providing critical access to jobs, schools, healthcare and shopping, as well as to provide eldercare. 

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FTA’s Tribal Transit Program supports public transportation for federally recognised American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages, groups, or communities. The funding is vital to help Tribes meet the needs of their citizens, including elders, people with disabilities and youth in rural areas.

“Today’s (11 October) grant awards will improve public transportation and connections for people in communities that have been historically underserved,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “We want to make sure that no one is left behind as we expand and modernise transit systems.”

Examples of projects selected to receive Fiscal Year 2022 funding include:

  • Alaska: The Native Village of Unalakleet will receive $1.6 million to build a bus garage and maintenance facility that will provide sheltered indoor space to store and repair buses. The village, located on the Norton Sound, provides on-demand transit to help residents get to the health clinic, grocery store, post office, Tribal office, airport, and other services
  • Nevada: The Walker River Paiute Tribe will receive $976,360 to establish the Agai-Dicutta Tribal Transit Program. The programme will provide Tribal transit services from the Walker River Paiute Reservation to several cities in Nevada, improving access to and within the community and better connecting residents to jobs, healthcare, and economic opportunities 
  • Nebraska: The Winnebago Tribe will receive $489,700 to replace vehicles, buy new equipment, and upgrade its maintenance facility. This project will ensure a continuity of services especially needed for winter weather conditions.

FTA received 47 eligible project proposals requesting approximately $18 million from Tribes and Alaska Native Village applicants in 17 states in response to the Notice of Funding Opportunity that had been issued in February 2022.