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The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced over $108 million in grants for 85 projects aimed at improving transportation and reducing roadway fatalities and serious injuries on federal and tribal lands. 

Assistant Secretary for Tribal Government Affairs Arlando Teller (Diné) highlighted the critical need for improved safety on tribal lands. "This funding can improve roads, intersections, sidewalks, and bike paths in these communities for all who use them," Teller stated.

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Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt echoed these sentiments, noting the broader benefits of the funding. "This funding will also improve mobility, access, and economic opportunity in dozens of communities," Bhatt said.

At an event in Yellowstone National Park today, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt  announced $88 million in grants to five key projects under the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects Program. Notable among these is a $24.1 million grant for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians' Jack Springs Road project in Escambia County, Alabama. This project will upgrade a dirt road to a paved road with wider lanes and shoulders, along with other improvements like resurfacing, road expansion, sidewalks, and shoulder rumble strips.

Additionally, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will receive a $20 million grant for the Greater Rural Access and Highways to Accelerate Mobility project in Graham County, North Carolina. This funding, managed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will construct a 12-mile portion of Corridor K of the Appalachian Development Highway System.

Other projects include $22 million for the National Park Service’s Grand Loop Road project at Yellowstone National Park, $11 million for the Reconnecting the Historic Columbia River Highway project in Oregon, and $11.1 million for the Crab Orchard Greenway Multimodal Network project in Illinois.

The FHWA also allocated $20.5 million in Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund grants for 80 projects that will help enhance road safety across various tribal lands, addressing critical infrastructure needs. 

The funding is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides up to $355 million annually for the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects for FY 2022-2026. The law mandates that half of all funding go to tribal transportation facilities and increases the federal share of tribal transportation facility projects to 100 percent. 

In the coming weeks, the FHWA said it plans to announce additional funding opportunities under the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects Program. 

To further support the 574 federally recognized tribes, the FHWA released a guide titled "Transportation Funding Opportunities for Tribal Nations," which details new and existing highway and bridge transportation funding programs under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.