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TIGER Grants Include Historic Investment in Tribal Projects

Friday, March 9, 2018


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) today announced $39.18 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for tribal projects. These awards collectively constitute the largest amount of tribal-specific funding delivered since the first round of the program.

“The TIGER grants announced today are investments in tribal infrastructure that will help improve safety, create jobs and modernize transportation systems,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The tribal projects receiving TIGER discretionary grants include:

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Highway 10 Reconstruction Project, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, $21,000,000

The project will reconstruct BIA 10, which will involve asphalt resurfacing and installing new culverts, base course, rumble strips, and pavement markings. Reconstruction of BIA 10 is vital to maintain the integrity of the only east-west collector route on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation. The route is used by agricultural businesses and provides access to communities for work, economic development and job preservation. The existing highway is at risk of closure due to flooding from deteriorated pipes along the roadway and shifting soil underneath the existing roadbed. This project will reduce maintenance costs on this route and will allow Tribal funds to be used for maintaining and improving other existing roads. The stabilization of the roadway and pipe replacement is imperative to protecting the public safety and reducing the possibility of road closure.

Nelson Island Accessibility and Transportation Infrastructure Viability Enhancement (NATIVE) Project, Nunakauyarmiut Tribe, $10,180,000

The project will construct approximately 21 miles of multimodal trails comprised of above ground, synthetic Geocell mats with an open configuration to protect native vegetation, including necessary fish culverts and bridges, connecting Toksook Bay to Nightmute and Umkumiut.

The tribal project improves existing trails rutted by ATV traffic and erosion that forces travelers to navigate undisturbed terrain surrounding the trails, including deep stream crossings.  By improving the trail and streambed crossings, the project reduces the likelihood of fatalities and injuries caused by travel on undisturbed terrain.  The project will provide a safe and dependable means of year-round transportation for travel and emergency response for the economically distressed remote Nelson Island communities, including improving access to the only sub-regional health center in the area.  The durable trail surface will protect vegetation and a river biome, and reduce erosion.

Jack Rabbit Road Reconstruction Project – Phase 1, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, $6,000,000

This project will reconstruct approximately five miles of Jack Rabbit Road from roughly the intersection of U.S. Highway 281/BIA Road 8 to BIA Road 15/BIA Road 8 on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation. The project is the first of four phases to reconstruct the 14.25-mile Jack Rabbit Road corridor.

By addressing substandard road conditions, including damaged pavement, a narrow road top, steep ditch embankments, constricted road shoulders, and poor line of sight, the project will improve safety. The project will update deteriorated pavement and outdated design standards to better accommodate traffic.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Passing Lane Project, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, $2,000,000

This project upgrades a 2.5-mile rural portion of US Highway 160 by adding approximately 6,000 feet of passing lanes in each direction, three new box culverts, signage, guardrails, widened shoulders, and access improvements.

The project will improve the safety and mobility of the highway for the traveling public and for freight transport. US 160 is the sole east-west corridor in southern Colorado and provides essential access to job opportunities for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Navajo Nation as well as access to numerous Federal recreational sites - key components of the area's economy and lifestyle.

The primary selection criteria for TIGER awards include safety, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, quality of life and environmental sustainability. Secondary criteria include innovation and partnership. The criteria used to select projects for these grants were similar to the Administration’s Infrastructure principles of supporting economic vitality and promoting innovation.

The FY 2017 TIGER program gave special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas, such as projects that improve infrastructure condition, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, or facilitate economic growth or competitiveness.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $500 million, available through September 30, 2020, for National Infrastructure Investments otherwise known as TIGER grants. As with previous rounds of TIGER, funds for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 TIGER grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The FY 2017 Appropriations Act specifies that TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million, except that for projects located in rural areas the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant size is $1 million.

Since the TIGER grant program was first created, $3.6 billion has been awarded for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure over eight rounds of competitive grants.  Throughout the TIGER program, these grants have supported projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.

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