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Federal transportation funding mechanisms have already been negotiated with tribal governments

Baxter 11 Associate Administrator for Federal Lands for the Federal Highway Administration (John R., “Hearing on Tribal Transportation: Paving the Way for Jobs, Infrastructure and Safety in Native Communities”, 9/15/11, Hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, “SW)

The IRR program is the largest Federal Lands Highway (FLH) program and is unique due to the relationship with Federally-recognized Indian Tribal Governments under the program. The IRR program serves 565 Federally-recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages in 32 States. FHWA co-administers the IRR program with the BIA under an agreement originating in 1948 and a Stewardship Plan from July 1996. IRR program funding has grown significantly under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), from a program size of $275 million annually under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) to $450 million annually today. This equates to a total of $2.76 billion over the life of SAFETEA-LU, including the extensions through the end of this fiscal year. These funds have been distributed according to a tribal shares formula, which was developed through a negotiated rulemaking with tribal governments. SAFETEA-LU also increased the eligible uses of IRR program funds by allowing a Tribe to use up to 25 percent of its share of funds for road and bridge maintenance activities. This change allowed Tribes to supplement the funding they receive annually from the Department of the Interior (DOI) for maintenance activities. It also allowed the Tribes to address critical safety, snow removal, and pavement preservation issues. The increased funding and programmatic changes provided in SAFETEA-LU for the IRR program, along with an additional $310 million provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), discussed below, have provided tools and resources to substantially improve tribal transportation.

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