Hoeven: Improving Tribal Roads, Bridges Key to Increased Economic Growth, Job Creation for N.D. Tribal Communities

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Thursday, Senator John Hoeven stressed the importance of safe, reliable roads and bridges in helping to spur economic growth and job creation for North Dakota’s tribal communities. 

“Maintaining the roads and bridges in and around our tribal communities is an important component to increasing economic opportunities on and off our reservations,” said Hoeven. “Safe and reliable transportation attracts the private investments that create jobs and opportunities. We need to ensure our Native communities have accessible roads, while making the most of limited federal funds.”

Hoeven introduced Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Charles Murphy at the hearing, and stressed the need to make the most of federal funding for transportation infrastructure in tribal communities. Hoeven cited Standing Rock’s use of cooperative agreements with local and state officials as a good example of leveraging limited funding to improve transportation on tribal roads and bridges.

“In light of our country’s fiscal situation, we must learn to do more with less. The Standing Rock Tribe in North Dakota has been a leader in using cooperative agreements with local and state officials to do just that.  These partnerships have helped to plow the roads and improve the overall transportation system in Fort Yates. We need to leverage federal, state, local and tribal resources to do the most good, and we need to encourage these types of agreements in communities across the nation,” said Hoeven.  

As a member of the Indian Affairs Committee, Hoeven is working to ensure that upcoming legislation to reauthorize tribal transportation programs, including the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) program, is cost effective and accounts for the priorities of North Dakota’s tribes. IRR funds the planning, design, construction and maintenance of approximately 143,625 miles of public roads and 6,500 bridges providing access to and within tribal lands.