The development of transportation planning partnerships provides an early and ongoing opportunity to evaluate funding strategies and develop a comprehensive project scope, which ultimately will lead to better projects. Planning partners may include other departments within the Tribal government or other Federal agencies such as the BIA, FHWA, FTA, and resource agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. In addition, it is important to work closely with the State and neighboring jurisdictions: cities or towns, counties, and Tribes. As mentioned in the previous section, these entities are likely to have common interests in regard to needed improvements of the transportation infrastructure and services. By discussing mutual priorities, agencies may agree to jointly fund a project, which would maximize the impact of valuable Tribal funding resources.
Project level coordination is an ongoing cycle as part of the planning process and requires continuous communication. Figure 1, "Transportation Improvement Program Relationships," illustrates the consultation relationships and the information flow between each of the respective planning partners and their TIP documents. Following figure 1 are details on each of the relationships as indicated through the corresponding alphabetic references.
Following the description in the last section of this module, the Tribe develops a list of detailed tasks and information on each project for inclusion in the TTIP or Tribal priority list. The BIA is responsible for developing an IRRTIP after consulting with the Tribe in regard to their TTIP and priorities. The BIA then includes selected project information in its region-wide control schedule without making any changes, unless the funding required for a project exceeds the amount available to the Tribe. If the Tribe does not generate enough annual funding under the IRR program funding formula to complete a project, the Tribe may pursue the following alternative options:
Once the IRRTIP is approved, the corresponding State's list of projects from the national document is sent to the individual State DOTs (via the FHWA Federal Aid division office). "The annual update of the IRRTIP for each State in a BIA regional office's service area should be coordinated with the State transportation agencies. This will ensure that approved IRRTIP updates and amendments are included with the STIP." (Source: 25 CFR 170.428)
Through the ongoing 3Cs planning process, Tribes should communicate with the State, local neighboring communities, regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs), and other agencies in the development of their respective TIPs. Federal law requires that "all regionally significant IRR program projects be developed in coordination with the State. In addition, Federal law defines distinct forms of cooperation or consultation to be undertaken by the States in the development of the STIPs within Indian Tribal areas." In practice, there are various approaches for this coordination and consultation between Tribes and States. Communication of your mutual priorities may lead to an agreement to jointly fund a project, which may even include allowing valuable Tribal funding resources to address additional transportation needs that benefit the Tribe but that are not limited to the boundaries of tribal land.
Figure 2, "TIP Relationships-Including Metropolitan," illustrates the consultant relationships and the information flow between each of the respective planning partners previously shown in figure 1 with the addition of the MPOs and the metropolitan TIP. Relationships summarized in figure 1 are repeated in figure 2, in addition to the role that the MPO plays in working with the Tribe by incorporating the TTIP into the metropolitan TIP.
Federal law requires that if a metropolitan planning area includes Federal public lands and/or Indian Tribal lands, the affected Federal agencies and Indian Tribal governments shall be involved appropriately in the development of metropolitan transportation plans and programs. Federal law requires that "all regionally significant IRR program projects be developed in coordination with the MPO." Discussion on environmental mitigation activities of the LRTP should be developed in consultation with
Tribes. In areas in which Tribal governments are within or near a metropolitan planning area, Tribes can coordinate their transportation program of projects with the MPO through regional meetings or through one-on-one meetings. This is an opportunity to maximize and leverage local funding sources, coordinate project scope, and ultimately lead to better projects.
The metropolitan planning area portion of the STIP (the metropolitan TIP) must be developed by the MPO in cooperation with the State. Metropolitan TIPs must be included in the STIP-directly or by reference-once approved by the MPO and the Governor or his designated representative, and as appropriate, after air quality conformity findings are made in nonattainment or maintenance areas when appropriate. Projects included in the MPO TIP cannot access their funding until the TIP is approved into the STIP. The link between the metropolitan TIP and STIP is an important reason for the State and designated transit operators and Tribes to work proactively with MPOs to develop the metropolitan area transportation plan and resulting TIP.