The Navajo Division of Transportation (NDOT) recently reported that it would take 116 years to meet its current infrastructure needs totaling $7.9 billion.
NDOT completed the draft Navajo Nation Transportation Bonding Program last fall. NDOT Executive Director Garret Silversmith said the bonding program covers four major areas across the Navajo Nation transportation infrastructure: bridges, pavement preservation projects, earth road improvements, and Tribal Transportation Improvement Program shortfall.
There is a total of 14,167 miles of roads across the Navajo Nation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) owns 42% or 5,994 miles of road; the Navajo Nation owns 34% or 4,890 miles of road; the states own 12% or 1,645 miles of road; and the counties own 12% or 1,638 miles of road. Of the 10,884 miles of road maintained by the Navajo Nation and BIA, 14% or 1,500 miles of road are paved, 1% or 98 miles of road are graveled, and 85% or 9,286 miles are dirt roads.
In addition, there is a total of 179 bridges maintained by the BIA and NDOT. From that amount, 38 bridges are eligible for rehabilitation and 28 bridges are eligible for replacement.
The Navajo Nation's Long-Range Transportation Plan of 2016 identified $1.4 billion in needs to address pavement deficiencies and $6.5 billion was identified for upgrades to the existing roadway system. The total transportation need is $7.9 billion.
According to NDOT, the agency receives $55 million annually in federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration. Additionally, $6 million is generated from the Fuel Excise Tax. NDOT also receives $1 million from the General Fund. BIA receives $6 million annually from the Department of Interior to maintain BIA routes. The total funding for the transportation infrastructure is $68 million annually, which will take 116 years to meet the current needs.
SOURCE: Navajo Nation Council