Chiefs meet in Minnesota

News April 12, 2002
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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and tribal governments in Minneso

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and tribal governments in Minnesota have signed a historic agreement to cooperate on transportation projects on and near tribal land in the state.


"State and federal highways don't stop at tribal borders," said Alan Steger, administrator for the Minnesota division of FHWA. "The agreement demonstrates a commitment by FHWA, MnDOT and Indian tribal governments in Minnesota to foster increased cooperation on transportation projects."


Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura honored the signing of the pact by issuing a proclamation marking April 1, 2002, as "Tribes and Transportation Day" in the state.


"There are hundreds of state highway miles on reservation land," said Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg. "As we proceed with our 20-year plan to strengthen Minnesota's network of inter-regional corridors, we need to work cooperatively with all communities. Our goal is to create and maintain a transportation system that strengthens the statewide economy by connecting people to jobs, distributors with manufacturers, shoppers with retailers and tourists with recreational sites."


The Transportation Accord also seeks to preserve cultural artifacts. MnDOT currently budgets over $1 million annually to identify and evaluate historic and archeological resources that could be affected by transportation projects. The agency is the first in the nation to use a computer model, known as "Mn/Model," to better predict the potential for encountering archeological sites. Mn/Model predicts about 23% of land in Minnesota and has the potential for containing artifacts and burial mounds.


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