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Tribal Transportation Funding Resources
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Planning has developed this module in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Tribal Technical Assistance Program, other FHWA offices (Federal Lands Highways and Resource Center) and the Federal Transit Administration Office of Planning and Environment.
A.1 Transportation Decision-making Series: Tools for Tribal Governments
This transportation decision-making series covers different aspects of transportation planning. All of the documents within the series identify linkages between Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) transportation planning and the Statewide and metropolitan planning process. The documents1 in the series are:
- Introduction to Planning
- Developing a Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
- Developing the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
- Funding Resources
- Public Involvement
- Data Collection and Use
Figure 1: Transportation Decision — Making Information Tools
This document addresses funding resources.
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A.2 Financial Planning
Before pursuing funding, the Tribal Transportation Planner should first undertake financial planning. This will require developing a financial profile for each project listed in the Tribal transportation improvement program (TIP). This should explain the rational for the project, the costs for each phase and activity, the implementation schedule and the possible funding sources that may support it. Preparing the financial element in advance will ensure the Tribal TIP is prioritized over a 3–to–6 year period and fiscally-constrained, with the reasonable expectation of being implemented. During and after financial planning, the Tribal Planner should refer to this Funding Resources Module for guidance and information.
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A.3 Funding Resources Module
The goal of this module is to identify funding programs and strategies that will assist Tribal governments with their transportation planning. The module should be used as a reference guide. It contains detailed information on thirty-six (36) federal funding programs and the eligibility criteria for each.
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A.4 Module Design
The Transportation Funding Resources module was designed for easy and practical use. Each section offers clear program descriptions. Specifically:
Section B highlights the funding sources of the Federal Lands Highway Program administered by the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) and the US Department of the Interior (US DoI). Seven (7) programs are listed.
Section C highlights the broader array of Federal-Aid Highway programs administered by the US DOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Because of the size and magnitude of the program, its funding programs are presented in four (4) categories: Highway Funds, Flexible Funds, Non-Motorized Funds and Safety Funds. Twenty-three (23) programs are listed.
Section D highlights the public transportation funding programs available through the US DOT Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Four (4) programs are listed.
Section E highlights alternative funding programs that may complement traditional funding opportunities. Two (2) sources are listed.
describes three (3) innovative project finance techniques that may be considered by Tribal governments.
The Module Appendix has six parts:
Appendix A presents summary tables. The first summarizes each funding program described in this module. The second table presents their five-year authorization levels.
Appendix B is a case study describing the infrastructure projects of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and how they were funded.
Appendix C is a list of terms and acronyms used in this module, with definitions for each.
Appendix D is a listing of the State Departments of Transportation nationwide.
Appendix E is a summary of national transportation authorizing legislation — The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
Appendix F lists module references.
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A.5 Helpful Hints
For the Tribal Transportation Planner, it should be noted:
- Each funding program has specific and often restrictive eligibility criteria. These should be reviewed carefully to ensure the proposed Tribal project or program exactly matches eligibility. To assist with this determination, at the conclusion of each program description a program contact and web site address are provided.
- Most of the sources identified in the Federal-Aid Highway Program represent funds apportioned by formula to States. These funds are generally restricted to public roads with functional classifications higher than "rural minor collector" or "local." There are exceptions to this. The reader will be advised on where program restrictions are relaxed to accommodate the broader federal purpose and intent.
- Because most of the federal funding resources are directed to the States, the agency receiving the funds (usually the State department of transportation) has considerable authority and discretion in determining how the funds may be distributed statewide and/or locally. The Tribal Transportation Planner should contact the receiving State agency and inquire on its program rules, which will likely vary for each program. This "due diligence" should be applied for each funding source. To aid this, a State Department of Transportation list is provided in Appendix D.
- It should be noted that most federal-aid funding programs require communications and consultationamong all participants. This includes Federal, State, Tribal, metropolitan and local governments, and the communities within them. The communications process should follow the three "C's" of planning. It should be cooperative, continuingand comprehensive. In this, the Tribal government requesting support should be prepared to engage in a long-term and coordinated effort with its funding partners.2
- Tribal governments requesting a State's federal-aid funds must justify the request. This justification should be developed early in the project planning process. Moreover, all projects should be listed in the Tribe's annually updated transportation improvement program (TIP). The Tribal TIP, once federally approved, should then be incorporated into the State and metropolitan planning organization (MPO) transportation improvement programs (the STIP and the MPO TIP respectively).
- Tribal projects most suitable for State federal-aid are those connected in some way to the larger local, regional or State transportation network. It is the responsibility of the Tribal government — when requesting State federal-aid — to explain how the Tribal project will advance and elevate State transportation efforts.
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1 Additional modules are available on the Internet at the FHWA Tribal Planning Web site at http://www.tribal.fhwa.dot.gov and on the FHWA/FTA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Web site at http://www.planning.dot.gov/tribal.asp
2 Refer to USDOT Publication — FHWA-HEP-05-053: Developing A Long-Range Transportation Plan, Public Involvement and Consultation with Planning Partners, Pages 5 and 6.
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