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Tribal Transportation Funding Resources

A. Introduction

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Planning has developed this module in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Tribal Technical Assistance Program, other FHWA offices (Federal Lands Highways and Resource Center) and the Federal Transit Administration Office of Planning and Environment.

A.1 Transportation Decision-making Series: Tools for Tribal Governments

This transportation decision-making series covers different aspects of transportation planning. All of the documents within the series identify linkages between Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) transportation planning and the Statewide and metropolitan planning process. The documents1 in the series are:

Flow chart showing transportation decision-making tools: Introduction to Planning, Developing an LRTP, Developing the TIP, Funding Resources, Public Involvement, and Data Collection and Use

Figure 1: Transportation Decision - Making Information Tools

This document addresses funding resources.

A.2 Financial Planning

Before pursuing funding, the Tribal Transportation Planner should first undertake financial planning. This will require developing a financial profile for each project listed in the Tribal transportation improvement program (TIP). This should explain the rational for the project, the costs for each phase and activity, the implementation schedule and the possible funding sources that may support it. Preparing the financial element in advance will ensure the Tribal TIP is prioritized over a 3-to-6 year period and fiscally-constrained, with the reasonable expectation of being implemented. During and after financial planning, the Tribal Planner should refer to this Funding Resources Module for guidance and information.

A.3 Funding Resources Module

The goal of this module is to identify funding programs and strategies that will assist Tribal governments with their transportation planning. The module should be used as a reference guide. It contains detailed information on thirty-six (36) federal funding programs and the eligibility criteria for each.

A.4 Module Design

The Transportation Funding Resources module was designed for easy and practical use. Each section offers clear program descriptions. Specifically:

Section B highlights the funding sources of the Federal Lands Highway Program administered by the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) and the US Department of the Interior (US DoI). Seven (7) programs are listed.

Section C highlights the broader array of Federal-Aid Highway programs administered by the US DOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Because of the size and magnitude of the program, its funding programs are presented in four (4) categories: Highway Funds, Flexible Funds, Non-Motorized Funds and Safety Funds. Twenty-three (23) programs are listed.

Section D highlights the public transportation funding programs available through the US DOT Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Four (4) programs are listed.

Section E highlights alternative funding programs that may complement traditional funding opportunities. Two (2) sources are listed.

Section F describes three (3) innovative project finance techniques that may be considered by Tribal governments.

The Module Appendix has six parts:

Appendix A presents summary tables. The first summarizes each funding program described in this module. The second table presents their five-year authorization levels.

Appendix B is a case study describing the infrastructure projects of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and how they were funded.

Appendix C is a list of terms and acronyms used in this module, with definitions for each.

Appendix D is a listing of the State Departments of Transportation nationwide.

Appendix E is a summary of national transportation authorizing legislation - The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

Appendix F lists module references.

A.5 Helpful Hints

For the Tribal Transportation Planner, it should be noted:

1 Additional modules are available on the Internet at the FHWA Tribal Planning Web site at and on the FHWA/FTA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Web site at

2 Refer to USDOT Publication - FHWA-HEP-05-053: Developing A Long-Range Transportation Plan, Public Involvement and Consultation with Planning Partners, Pages 5 and 6.

Updated: 5/11/2015
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