The Federal Highway Administration has signed cooperative agreements re-establishing regional Tribal Technical Assistance Program or TTAP centers to help tribal communities access several avenues of federal transportation funding, including the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021.
[Above image by FHWA]
FHWA said its shift from a centralized technical assistance model – headquartered in a single location under a two-year pilot program – back to a regional technical assistance model derives from tribal input gathered from 13 listening sessions over seven months as well as from a Notice Request for Information issued in September 2020.
Those regional centers will ultimately serve the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs regions to help meet transportation training and education needs of Native American communities across the country, FHWA added – building skills and expertise to ensure the safety and maintenance of tribal roads.
FHWA added in a statement that the new regional TTAP centers complement other technical assistance offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation designed to support tribal, rural, and disadvantaged communities.
For example, to assist the 574 federally recognized Tribes in addressing their transportation needs, FHWA developed a Transportation Funding Opportunities for Tribal Nations brochure, and this summer the USDOT launched Navigator to help communities understand the best ways to apply for grants and access the full array of DOT technical assistance resources.
In the coming months, FHWA plans to host listening sessions to gather further input on how USDOT and FHWA can support tribal communities as they work to access transportation funding via the IIJA to improve safety, mobility options and quality of life for tribal residents.