U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $15 Million to Improve Transit Options for American Indians, Alaska Natives on Tribal Lands

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Investments Improve Access to Jobs, Promote Economic Development

Contact: Paul Griffo
(202) 366-4064

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $15 million to help American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments invest in public transit to help improve access to employment centers and promote economic development on tribal lands.

"With unemployment among American Indians at an unacceptably high rate, reliable public transportation offers a vital link to jobs, training centers and other essential services," Secretary LaHood said. "The Obama Administration is committed to working with leaders in Indian country to improve transportation connections while boosting economic conditions and creating jobs in tribal communities."

The money, which is awarded through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Tribal Transit Program, will provide grants to tribes in 25 states for 67 separate projects. The projects will focus on maintaining existing transit operations during the economic downturn and enhancing services for seniors and people with disabilities. In addition, some grants will be used to plan or launch new bus, van and commuter service in rural communities that have never been served by public transit before.

"For people who live in rural communities and on tribal lands, access to reliable, affordable public transit is a lifeline," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "We’re committed to ensuring that every American Indian or Alaskan native who needs a ride to earn a paycheck, attend school, see the doctor, or buy groceries has that opportunity."

Eligible grant recipients under the Tribal Transit 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. Some projects receiving money include the following.

The Federal Transit Administration reviewed 116 project applications for the Tribal Transit Program, representing more than $41.6 million in funding requests from tribal transit providers across the country. A full list of grant awards can be found here.