National Academies Press: OpenBook

Update of Selected Studies in Transportation Law, Volume 8, Section 3: Indian Transportation Law (2019)


Page 57
Suggested Citation:"J. FEDERAL TRANSIT PROGRAMS INVOLVING INDIAN TRIBES." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Update of Selected Studies in Transportation Law, Volume 8, Section 3: Indian Transportation Law. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25514.
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NCHRP LRD 76 57 recipient.647 Title III of SAFETEA-LU greatly enlarged the role of public transportation in Indian country with the Pub- lic Transportation on Indian Reservations Program (Tribal Transit Program).648 Significantly, the Act explicitly defined “recipients” to include a state or Indian tribe that receives a federal transit program grant from the federal govern- ment.649 The Act provided for $45 million for Indian tribe transit grants for fiscal years 2005 to 2009.650 The change of words from “mass” to “public” reflects the broader applica- bility of transit systems beyond urban areas.651 The former planning requirements were amended,652 and required that the state’s general public transportation planning process consider the concerns of Indian tribal governments and fed- eral land management agencies that have jurisdiction over land within the state boundaries.653 The Act further required the development of a 20-year, long-range transportation plan that provides for the development and implementation of the intermodal transportation system of the state. With respect to an area of the state under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribal government, the statewide long-range plan was to be developed in consultation with the tribal government and the Secretary of the Interior.654 Similarly, the statewide public transportation improvement program, which is updated at least every four years, also required appropriate tribal gov- ernment consultation under Title II of SAFETEA-LU.655 MAP-21656 and the FAST Act657 continued the Tribal Tran- sit Program. Funding for the program is a set-aside from the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program. Under the program, federally recognized tribes are eligible to be both a direct recipi- ent and a sub-recipient of the state. Funds received through the program can be used for administrative expenses, planning, op- erations, and capital. The program includes both a competitive grant and a formula-based grant calculated based on revenue miles and the number of low income individuals residing on tribal lands. The formula-based grant does not require a lo- 647 49 U.S.C. § 5302(10): Local governmental authority. The term “local governmental authority” includes— 1. a political subdivision of a State; 2. an authority of at least 1 State or political subdivision of a State; 3. an Indian tribe; and 4. a public corporation, board, or commission established under the laws of a State. 648 SAFETEA-LU §§. 3001-3051, entitled “Federal Public Trans- portation Act of 2005.” 649 Id. § 3013(a)(a)(1). 650 Id. § 3013(c)(c)(1). 651 H. Rept. 109-203-Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Trans- portation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, Conference Report on H.R. §3002 (July 28, 2005) 652 49 U.S.C. § 5304. 653 SAFETEA-LU § 3006(9)(e)(2). 654 Id. § 3006(e)(2) and (f)(2)(C). 655 Id. § 3006(g)(1)(C). 656 Pub. L. No. 112-141, 126 Stat. 405 (2012). 657 Pub. L. No. 114-94, 129 Stat. 1312 (2015), Section 5311(j). or facilities owned or operated by the tribe that provide access to federally owned land. This does not include tribal lands gener- ally, but does include, for example, a tribe-owned road provid- ing access to a national forest.641 6. Tribal Technical Assistance Program ISTEA642 provided statutory authorization and funding for Tribal Technical Assistance Programs (TTAP) to provide tech- nical assistance to tribes; authorization and funding continues today through the FAST Act.643 The federal share is 100 percent for Tribal Technical Assistance Program centers. Services pro- vided through these centers are managed by FHWA through co- operative agreements. In 1992, TTAP centers were established in Colorado, Michigan, Montana, and Washington.644 In 1995 centers were added in Oklahoma, California, and Alaska. Cur- rently there is also a national TTAP headquarters in Virginia that provides online training.645 J. FEDERAL TRANSIT PROGRAMS INVOLVING INDIAN TRIBES The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is one of the modal administrations in the U.S. DOT. FTA provides finan- cial and technical assistance for public transportation systems including buses, rail, and trolleys. FTA oversees grants to state and local transit providers. The grantees are responsible for managing their programs in compliance with federal require- ments, and FTA is responsible for ensuring that grantees fol- low federal mandates along with statutory and administrative requirements.646 Prior to SAFETEA-LU, FTA’s statutory authority, regula- tions, and policy guidance did not establish any specific pro- grams for Indian tribes or tribal entities as such, but it was clear that an “Indian tribe” was eligible to become a grant 641 23 U.S.C. § 2014; Federal Highway Administration, Imple- mentation Guidance for the Federal Lands Access Program, available at: FLAP%20Implem%20Guidance.pdf (accessed July 7, 2018). 642 Pub. L. No. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914 (Dec. 18, 1991). 643 Pub. L. No. 114-94, 129 Stat. 1312 (2015); see 23 U.S.C. § 504(b). 644 FHWA Center for Local Aid and Support, Tribal Techni- cal Assistance Program (TTAP), vativeprograms/centers/local_aid/ttap/ (accessed Sept. 20, 2018). 645 Tribal Technical Assistance Program (Home Page), (accessed July 7, 2018). 646 Federal Transit Administration, About, available at: (accessed June 30, 2018) and Federal Transit Administration, Funding and Finance Resources, available at finance-resources/funding-finance-resources (accessed June 30, 2018).

Update of Selected Studies in Transportation Law, Volume 8, Section 3: Indian Transportation Law Get This Book
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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Legal Research Digest (LRD) 76 examines the intersection of transportation law and Indian law as it relates to federal, state, and local transportation agencies.

The LRD provides background information on Indians, tribes, and the history of the federal government’s Indian policy and Indian law and explores jurisdiction in Indian country beginning with three basic concepts (inherent tribal sovereignty, Indians and tribal membership, and Indian country).

The LRD examines basic terms for land ownership on reservations and in Indian country more generally; provides an overview of criminal jurisdiction in Indian country; explores the law related to reservation boundary disputes; the fee-to-trust process and reservation proclamations; state sovereign immunity in suits involving Indian tribes; contracting with Indian tribes and tribal entities; acquisitions of Indian lands for public transportation purposes; and federal highway and transit programs involving Indian tribes.

In addition, the LRD explores planning and project development activities, construction activities, and operation and maintenance of highways in Indian country followed by a final section on government-to-government cooperation between states and Indian tribes.

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