U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the availability of $15 million in federal funding that will enable rural American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments across the United States to invest in public transit options that provide convenient access to employment centers and promote new economic development on tribal lands.
"The Obama administration is committed to improving tribal transportation resources," said Secretary LaHood. "These dollars will do that and more by creating jobs and stimulating development of new tribal-owned businesses."
The money is provided under the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Tribal Transit Program, which provides grants to Indian tribes for capital transportation projects and operating expenses to meet the growing public transit needs of rural tribal communities.
"Public transportation gives those who live on tribal lands better access to jobs and health care, and provides an incentive for much-needed economic development," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "Affordable transit choice in our most rural communities helps families live healthier lives and keeps more of their paychecks in their pockets rather than spending them at the gas pump."
Those eligible to compete for money under this program include federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities, as identified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior.
Federal tribal transit grants have enabled dozens of tribal communities and transit providers to purchase, modernize, and expand bus fleets, increase service for seniors and people with disabilities and launch new bus, van, and commuter service in rural communities that had never been served by public transit before.
A notice published in today's Federal Register includes application procedures, criteria that FTA will use to select projects, and grant terms, conditions and reporting requirements. The deadline to submit project proposals is Sept. 26, 2011.
Interested tribal groups are encouraged to contact the nearest FTA Regional Office for additional information on the Tribal Transit Program. A list of FTA regional offices may be found at www.fta.dot.gov.