Natives Aff

Poor infrastructure is the key barrier to Native economic growth

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Poor infrastructure is the key barrier to Native economic growth

NCAI 2011 (National Congress of American Indians, “SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS HEARING: Oversight hearing on tribal transportation: Paving the way for Jobs, Infrastructure, and Safety in Native Communities,” Sep 15,

Currently, there are over 140,000 miles of Indian reservation roads with multiple owners, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian tribes, states and counties. Indian reservation roads are still the most underdeveloped road network in the nation however; it is the principal transportation system for all residents of and visitors to tribal and Alaska Native communities. Approximately eight billion vehicle miles traveled on Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Program system annually. Many road conditions on Indian reservations are unsafe, inequitable and it is the primary barrier to economic development and improvement of living conditions. For example, more than 60 percent of the system is unimproved earth and gravel, and approximately 24 percent of IRR bridges are classified as deficient. American Indians have the highest rates of pedestrian injury and vehicle deaths per capita of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. These conditions make it very difficult for residents of tribal communities to travel to hospitals, stores, schools, and employment centers.

Strong economies are key to Native cultural survival—it’s the only way to safeguard rights and identity

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