U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) yesterday announced it is providing a $45.7 million grant to the Alaska’s Native Village of Eyak to construct a highway, dock support facilities and boat ramp at the Marine Tribal Transportation and Shepard Point Oil Spill Response Facility. The grant will improve transportation access to the facility, which is currently under construction and will serve as a multi-modal transportation and oil spill emergency response center for tribal members and the broader community of Cordova and the surrounding area.
“Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re now modernizing more of the infrastructure that creates opportunity in tribal communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Today, we’re proud to award over $45 million to improve transportation access to the Marine Tribal Transportation and Shepard Point Oil Spill Response Facility in Alaska.”
“The grant we’re providing will help the Native Village of Eyak and surrounding communities respond to oil spills and other emergencies more effectively,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “We’re proud to partner with the tribe on transportation improvements that will help protect the environment and prepare for events in the future by putting in place infrastructure that improves the safety and well-being of the Village and the Cordova community.”
This is the second time the Native Village of Eyak has been selected to receive funding for the project from U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and builds on a $40 million grant provided in Fiscal Year 2020. The facility is a long-time priority for the tribe following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and will provide a central location for tribal members and the broader community to develop marine support services. The marine emergency response component of the project is expected to increase capabilities in the event of a wreck, marine vessel fire, injury or fatality by significantly improving oil spill and emergency response times for vessels in distress within the local and surrounding vicinity.
Funding for the grant is made possible through U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Project program and reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on serving tribal communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law made significant changes to the program by increasing annual authorizations from $100 million to $355 million and ensuring tribal transportation facilities receive 50% of the appropriated funds. Critically, tribes can apply for funding at 100% federal share with no matching requirement, a historic barrier for tribal access to infrastructure funding.
The program provides Federal funding for construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of multi-modal transportation facilities that are situated within, adjacent to, or provide access to Federal or tribal lands. A project of national significance is typically a higher cost project that federal land management agencies and tribal governments cannot normally afford to build because the project would exhaust their financial resources. The project is also considered important to the well-being of the area where the project is located and surrounding community, supports safe access to popular destinations such as National Parks, or provides critical transportation support for hospitals and schools on tribal lands.
Funding is also now available for Fiscal Year 2022 Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects in a Notice of Funding Opportunity and builds on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to improve the safety of the nation’s roadways for all road users. A key element of these efforts is the Department’s recently announced Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary grant program that will provide $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 to support regional, local, and tribal plans, projects and strategies that will prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. The SS4A program supports the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy and goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration also recently announced a Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund NOFO of up to $120 million for Fiscal Years 2022 through 2026, made possible by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To further assist the 574 federally recognized tribes in addressing their transportation needs, FHWA has developed Transportation Funding Opportunities for Tribal Nations, a brochure that provides information on new highway programs created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as well as existing highway and bridge transportation funding programs. the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration also has a Questions and Answers document for tribes interested in undertaking bridge projects. The Department also has the DOT Navigator, a new resource to help communities understand the best ways to apply for grants, and to plan for and deliver transformative infrastructure projects and services.