Seventy-four tribes across the U.S. were part of a $9 million award this week that will support 77 road-safety projects in 22 states.
The funds, which come from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund (TTPSF) are dedicated to improving transportation safety on tribal lands that are statistically some of the most hazardous in the nation because of poor physical condition and other factors. Congress created TTPSF in 2013 in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act to improve highway safety on tribal roads and other transportation facilities.
Awarded each year, projects are chosen from applications whose outcomes will help to prevent or reduce death or serious injuries in motor-vehicle crashes or other transportation-related incidents.
This year, 172 applications from 128 recognized tribes requesting a total of $40.3 million in help were received. Transportation fatalities and injuries severely impact the quality of life on tribal lands, and roadway fatality and injury statistics are consistently higher on tribal roads than the rest of the nation as a whole. FHWA advocates the development of strategic Transportation Safety Plans as a means for tribes to determine how transportation safety needs will be addressed in and around tribal communities.