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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Biden-Harris Administration Announces 22 Tribes and Alaska Native Villages Will Receive Nearly $10 Million in Transit Grants from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Monday, September 25, 2023

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration today announced $9.9 million in grants to 22 American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native communities to improve their public transit systems. The competitive grants under FTA's Tribal Transit Program allow Tribes to buy transit vehicles, upgrade bus facilities, and expand transit options. The President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes nearly $46 million in competitive funding over five years for the Tribal Transit Program, an increase of nearly 83%.

"Through President Biden's infrastructure package, we are improving transit in Tribal Nations around our country," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "These grants will help ensure Tribal residents have more reliable, affordable ways to access jobs, schools, and essential resources."    

According to the National Transit Database, more than 13 million vehicle miles of service are provided by Tribal Transit systems each year nationwide. In Fiscal Year 2022, FTA awarded funds to 25 American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native communities to help them meet the needs of their citizens, including elders, people with disabilities, and youth. 

"These funds will directly support 22 Tribal Nations across 12 states creating safe, clean, and accessible options for getting residents where they need to go," said Arlando Teller, Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs. "FTA's Tribal Transit Program assists communities in addressing their unique transportation issues — taking to heart community involvement to ultimately support sustainable transportation solutions.”

"These project selections will improve public transportation and connections for people in communities that have been historically underserved," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "Providing public transportation truly changes lives, and launching transit service, replacing buses and vans, and building new transit facilities helps keep people in tribal communities and Alaska Native Villages moving." 

For Tribal communities, public transportation provides a vital service. These annual grants help advance equity and support communities across America, especially those that may have been overlooked in the past. This year’s program supports projects that will help Tribal residents make better connections. For example:

  • Alaska: The Native Village of Unalakleet will receive $1.4 million to buy equipment to maintain transit corridors serving residential areas year-round safely. The village, located on the Norton Sound, 180 miles southeast of Nome, provides on-demand transit to help residents access the health clinic, grocery store, post office, tribal office, airport, and other services.
  • California: The Karuk Tribe, located along the Klamath River in Northern California, will receive nearly $324,000 to start new transit service. The project will help guide the establishment and operation of a transit system that serves the needs of seniors and other community members, especially those most vulnerable.
  • Minnesota: The Prairie Island Indian Community, located in Southeastern Minnesota, will receive $1.1 million to build a transportation maintenance facility at Oyate Place. The project will enhance safety, improve winter preparedness, and ensure reliable transportation services by providing a dedicated space to store and maintain public transportation vehicles.
  • Wisconsin: The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, located in central and mid-eastern Wisconsin, will receive $540,000 to buy six transit vans. The new vehicles will improve service in rural, disadvantaged areas and provide needed transit to health and educational services.  

FTA received 41 eligible project proposals requesting nearly $20 million from Tribes and Alaska Native Village applicants in response to the Notice of Funding Opportunity.