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The U.S. Department of Transportation published a final rule on June 2 that establishes a tribal transportation self-governance program, designed to provide a “flexible, effective framework” for the Federal government and Indian tribes to work collaboratively to improve transportation infrastructure delivery in Indian country.

USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao

“This program will boost prospects for economic growth and enhance quality of life by strengthening transportation infrastructure and reducing administrative red tape for Tribes receiving funding from the Department,” noted USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement.

This new rule is the result of a successful multi-year negotiated rulemaking process between representatives of the nation’s Native American tribes, USDOT, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The agency said this program will “recognize the unique government-to-government relationship” between the tribes and the Federal government and improve the way USDOT does business with tribes; streamlining USDOT’s distribution of transportation funding to participating tribes under “a less onerous framework” to ensure more program funds are used to improve the quality of life in Indian country.

The program is expected to be fully implemented starting October 1.

editor@aashto.org

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