Mohave Valley Daily News
WASHINGTON — Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has introduced the bipartisan Tribal Transportation Improvement Act with Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.
The bipartisan bill, if passed, would improve critical transportation funding for tribal communities — including the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe in Arizona, California and Nevada — helping improve communities’ roads, economies, and safety.
“Tribal communities depend on safe roads to travel to work, get to school, and access health care,” Sinema said. “Strengthening transportation services in tribal communities expands opportunities for tribal members across Arizona.”
“Funding for transportation and safety projects is critically important to Tribal Nations in Arizona and throughout Indian Country. However, this funding is often constrained by red tape and a lack of transparency in how the government administers the programs,” said Shan Lewis, vice chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and president of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona. “We support Sen. Sinema in her leadership for bringing transparency and flexibility to tribal transportation programs within the federal government and ensuring that tribal nations are able to rely on these resources through accountable and accessible systems.”
Currently, a high percentage of unpaved roads cause serious transportation challenges across Indian Country. These unsafe road conditions prevent children from attending school, sick and injured people from receiving health services, and emergency responders from providing help.
The Tribal Transportation Improvement Act creates a federal-advisory committee tasked with gathering tribal input and providing recommendations to the Bureau of Indian Affairs on how to improve roads. Additionally, the bill promotes transparency by requiring the Department of Transportation and the Department of the Interior to conduct a review of the tribal transportation program, ensuring it improves and meets the needs of tribal communities in Arizona.