Infrastructure deficit at Navajo Nation equals 116 years of work, $8 billion

Navajo Division of Transportation photo

The Associated Press

$320 million bonding plan drafted to fund bridges, pavement preservation projects and earth road improvements

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Transportation officials for the Navajo Nation have reported it would take 116 years and $7.9 billion to meet current infrastructure needs. 

Officials from the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation reported the figures as part of a $320 million bonding plan drafted to fund bridges, pavement preservation projects and earth road improvements, Gallup Independent reported Tuesday.

The Navajo Nation Council's Budget and Finance Committee unanimously accepted the plan in early December and expect to distribute funds evenly to five different road-maintaining agencies, officials said.

The plan identified $1.4 billion in needs to address pavement deficiencies and $6.5 billion for upgrades to the existing roadway system, committee officials said.

More than 14,000 roads span across Navajo land and more than 9,000 miles (14,400 kilometers) of those roads are dirt roads owned and maintained by either the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Navajo Nation, officials said. There are also 179 bridges; 38 are eligible for rehabilitation and 28 are eligible for replacement, officials said.

The transportation division receives about $68 million for transportation infrastructure from the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Navajo Nation general funds and fuel excise taxes, officials said. 

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